Wall Street swoons to end bumpy week

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© Reuters. Traders work on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, US, March 7, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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By Lewis Krauskopf, Devik Jain and Sabahatjahan Contractor

(Reuters) – Major US stock indices stumbled Friday as technology and growth stocks led a broad decline and investors worried about the conflict in Ukraine as attention turned to the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting next week.

At the end of a volatile week, indices had opened higher after Russian President Vladimir Putin said there were “certain positive shifts” in negotiations with Ukraine, without providing details, but shares subsequently faded during the session.

All 11 sectors ended in decline, with communications services down 1.9% and technology down 1.8%.

“After seeing an uptick in the middle of the week, there’s still too much uncertainty,” said Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak. “The market has had some tough Mondays, so I think the short term players want to get some chips off the table.”

The S&P 500 fell 229.88 points or 0.69% to 32,944.19, the S&P 500 lost 55.21 points or 1.30% to 4,204.31 and the S&P 500 fell 286.15 points or 2.18 % to 12,843.81.

The benchmark S&P 500 fell 2.9% for the week, registering its second consecutive weekly decline. The Dow fell for the fifth week in a row.

On Friday, declines in shares of megacap growth companies such as Apple Inc (NASDAQ:) and Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc dragged on the S&P 500. Apple fell 2.4% while Tesla lost 5.1%.

Shares of Meta Platforms fell 3.9% as Russia opened a criminal case against the Facebook parent (NASDAQ:) after the social network changed its hate speech rules to allow users to call for “death to the Russian invaders” in context of the war with Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine had reached a “strategic turning point” in the conflict with Russia, but Russian forces bombed cities across the country and appeared to be regrouping for a possible attack on the capital Kiev.

Regarding developments in the Ukraine crisis, “you just don’t know what you’re going to see, so there’s no reason to go into the weekend with a risky stance,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. †

Growth stocks also came under pressure as prices hovered around 2%.

Equities have struggled this year as concerns over the Russia-Ukraine crisis have intensified a sell-off initially fueled by concerns over higher bond yields as the Fed is expected to tighten monetary policy this year to fight inflation. The S&P 500 is down 11.8% in 2022.

The US central bank is expected to raise interest rates during its March 15-16 meeting.

A survey found that consumer confidence in the US fell more than expected in early March, as gasoline prices spiked to record highs in the wake of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The number of declining issues surpassed the number advancing on the NYSE by a ratio of 2.83 to 1; on Nasdaq, a 2.54-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 recorded 13 new 52-week highs and 16 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite registered 36 new highs and 274 new lows.

About 13 billion shares have changed hands on US exchanges, compared to the daily average of 13.6 billion over the past 20 sessions.