US STOCKS-S&P briefly turns negative as worries about Ukraine pick up

Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:42pm EST

* S&P 500 hits intraday record, loses steam on worries about Ukraine

* Fourth-quarter GDP, pending home sales miss expectations

* Dow flat, S&P off 0.03 pct, Nasdaq down 0.6 pct

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Feb 28 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Dow briefly turned lower in late trading on Friday as worries about tensions in Ukraine caused investors to take profits ahead of the weekend.

Ukraine's acting president accused Russia of open aggression and said Moscow was following a similar scenario to the one before it went to war with Georgia in 2008.

"The market's gone straight south because there's chatter about Russia's (involvement) in the Ukraine, and that's getting people all jittery," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

"It's sell first, and ask questions later on a Friday afternoon. You don't know what's going to happen over the weekend, so people are going to lock in profits."

The S&P 500 earlier hit an intraday record for a second time this week as consumer confidence and other data bucked the recent trend of weaker economic reports.

The Nasdaq remained in negative territory, and tech shares led the way lower on the S&P 500, with Apple and Salesforce.com Inc the two biggest drags.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 25.68 points or 0.16 percent, to 16,298.33 while the S&P 500 gained 2.17 points or 0.12 percent, to 1,856.46, after trading in negative territory.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 18.681 points or 0.43 percent, to 4,300.251.

Apple shares were down 0.6 percent at $524.69. Salesforce.com shares fell 7 percent to $61.60, a day after it raised its full-year revenue forecast but its profit forecast was largely below estimates.

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