Stocks Drop on Ukraine Concerns, Ignore Upbeat Economic Data

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Stocks declined on Thursday, ending a 3-day winning streak and pulling the S&P 500 back below 2,000, as concerns about Ukraine overtook upbeat reports on the U.S. economy and the labor market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed unofficially 42 points lower, the S&P 500 fell 3 points and the Nasdaq lost 11 points. "The recent U.S. data is positive, but we're grinding against the world; it's hard to decouple for too long," said Paul Karos, a senior portfolio manager at Whitebox Mutual Funds. "We only need Ukraine and Russia to flare up to trigger a reason to sell," said Nick Raich, CEO at the Earnings Scout. Earlier, Ukraine President Poroshenko claimed Russian forces had moved inside his eastern borders. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said the economy expanded more than previously projected, with gross domestic product rising at a 4.2 percent annualized pace, versus an earlier estimate of 4 percent. And the Labor Department reported the count of Americans filing for jobless benefits last week dropped by 1,000 to 298,000.

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