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Stocks Slip as Ukraine and Russia Sanctions Weigh on Markets

Stocks fell on Friday, as investors considered events in Ukraine and the impact of sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea.
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Stocks fell on Friday, with the S&P 500 easing gains after rising to an intraday record, as investors considered events in Ukraine and the impact of sanctions on Russia.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed unofficially 28 points lower, while the S&P 500 lost 5 points and the Nasdaq shed 42, or nearly 1 percent.

The standoff over Crimea saw the European Union inking a pact with Ukraine and widening sanctions, while President Barack Obama has approved possible future penalties on Russian sectors including financial services, defense and energy.

Earlier, stocks rose on remarks by Minneapolis Fed Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota, who said the central bank should have vowed to keep rates near zero until unemployment falls below 5.5 percent, so long as inflation and financial stability risks are contained. Kocherlakota was the lone dissenter to the Fed's policy decision on Wednesday.

The Federal Reserve said big U.S. banks have sufficient capital to weather a dramatic economic downturn, with 29 of 30 major banks meeting the minimum bar in the central bank's yearly check. The sole bank to fail the test, Zion Bancorp said it would resubmit a capital plan to the Fed.

The dollar fell against major U.S. trading partners, and the 10-year Treasury yield used in determining mortgage rates and other consumer loans dropped 3 basis points to 2.745 percent.

Crude-oil futures for May delivery rose $1.03 to $99.93 a barrel, while gold futures for April delivery added $5.50, to $1,336.00 an ounce.

On Thursday, stocks advanced to recoup most of the prior day's losses, after upbeat economic reports and as investors reconsidered Fed chief Janet Yellen's remarks on Wednesday, which sparked concern about the timing of when the central bank hikes short-term interest rates, currently at record lows.