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Stocks Slip as Ukraine Concerns Dampen Cheer Over Jobs Report

 / Updated  / Source: CNBC.com

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Stocks slid on Friday as concerns over the situation in Ukraine dampened investor cheer over the government jobs report that showed employers added more jobs than expected in April and the unemployment rate had dropped.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed unofficially nearly 46 points lower, the S&P 500 lost 2 points and the Nasdaq was 3 points in the red.

"It's very clear that this situation is unresolved, and the markets are watching closely. It's also a situation where many investors will see headlines and perhaps elect not to hold stocks over the weekend," Jim Russell, senior equity strategist for US Bank Wealth management, said of the Ukraine situation.

Russia called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council over a Ukrainian army operation. Earlier, pro-Russian rebels shot down two Ukrainian helicopters, killing two crew members, as troops tightened their siege of separatist-held Slovyansk in what Moscow called a "criminal" assault by Kiev that wrecked hopes of peace.

Gold futures erased a loss to turn higher, as did the CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of investor uncertainty, which pulled above 13.

The geopolitical concerns offset gains that came after the Labor Department reported the creation of 288,000 jobs in April from an upwardly revised 203,000 in March, with the jobless rate at 6.3 percent. Expectations called for the addition of 210,000 jobs during April. Analysts polled by Reuters also saw unemployment falling to 6.6 percent.

"The average person should be happy with this report, as the bottom-line number shows we were able to bounce back from the deep freeze we were in," said Marc Doss, regional chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank.

Still, investors fretted over the data's impact on Federal Reserve moves ahead and also cited a drop in the labor pool as dampening cheer.

"The big question that'll come in is the labor participation rate, that's going to be the constant concern here," said Art Hogan, market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, referring to the numbers of those looking for work as declining by 806,000.

"That 6.3 percent unemployment rate will cause people to wonder when the Fed is going to start raising rates," said Doss.

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