Wall Street dips as Ukraine concern offsets upbeat jobs data

NEW YORK Fri May 2, 2014 4:45pm EDT

1 of 5. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange May 2, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks eased on Friday as concerns about more violence in Ukraine prompted profit-taking ahead of the weekend and offset optimism about the fastest job growth in more than two years.

Healthcare shares were among the biggest drags on the S&P 500, including U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc (PFE.N). Its shares fell 1.3 percent to $30.75 after its sweetened bid for AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) was rejected.

Adding to market pressure, more than 40 people were killed in the Ukrainian city of Odessa on Friday in the worst violence in the Black Sea port since President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in February.

"Geopolitical tension has come back into the market. You're going into a weekend and obviously events can unfold, so you've got profit-taking," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial, in Newark, New Jersey.

All three major indexes posted gains for the week. The Dow was up 0.9 percent, the S&P 500 was up 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq added 1.2 percent.

Oil prices rose on the Ukraine violence, lifting shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) and other energy companies, which limited some of the S&P 500's decline.

Before the opening, data showed U.S. job growth picked up at its fastest pace in more than two years in April, suggesting a sharp rebound in economic activity early in the second quarter. The news was dampened by a sharp increase in people dropping out of the labor force, however.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 45.98 points or 0.28 percent, to 16,512.89, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 2.54 points or 0.13 percent, to 1,881.14 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 3.554 points or 0.09 percent, to 4,123.897.

LinkedIn Corp (LNKD.N) shares dropped 8.4 percent to $147.73, a day after the social networking company forecast 2014 revenue below expectations, the latest company to disappoint on sales this reporting period. Expedia (EXPE.O) shares fell 3.7 percent to $71.15, also after results.

So far in this earnings season, 75 percent of companies have beaten earnings expectations, above the 63 percent long-term average. But just 51.3 percent have exceeded sales expectations, below the 61 percent long-term average, continuing the recent trend, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Shares of Exxon, which reported results this week along with ConocoPhillips (COP.N) and Chevron (CVX.N), were up 0.6 percent at $102.01. Shares of ConocoPhillips gained 2 percent to $76.52 while the stock of Chevron, which posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday, dipped 0.2 percent to $124.72.

The S&P 500 healthcare sector .SPXHC, down 0.8 percent, was among the day's weakest sectors. Several multi-billion dollar deals and offers have been announced in the sector in recent weeks.

The Pfizer news "certainly has been a catalyst for profit-taking on big pharma," Krosby said.

Shares of Ares Management LP (ARES.N), the first U.S. private equity firm to go public in about two years, closed at $18.60 after pricing at $19, well below the expected range of $21-23, in a turbulent IPO market.

About 5.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 6.7 billion average over the past five days, according to data from BATS Global Markets.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)

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Comments (6)
dualcitizen wrote:
Yeah, dropped despite the media headlines screaming how great everything was data wise, when you READ the articles and analyze the facts, it seems like more smoke and mirrors.

May 02, 2014 12:52pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Grimster wrote:
If you need any indication that Wall Street feels it benefits when Main Street gets squeezed you need look no further than the fact that every time economic indicators are good the market is lackluster at best. The fact is that a strong economy means that the money changers will get cut off from their free Fed dollars. The markets are reacting to the fact that interest rates should not be this low and P/E ratios are way too high. And the belief is that if the economy improves and employment improves the Fed is going to stop the music and everyone with any leverage is going to be racing to get to a chair.

May 02, 2014 2:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Joseph_Toomey wrote:
Only the Obama lapdog media could look at a monthly BLS report that showed 806,000 people drop out of the labor force, that showed a labor force participation rate plunge to a level not witnessed since 1978, that saw an increase of nearly one million working-age adults who are Not in the Labor Force, that saw a decrease of 73,000 employed persons, that showed one of the lowest percentages of adults working in more than 30 years, that showed fewer employed persons than all the way back to December 2006, and call it “an upbeat jobs report.”

May 02, 2014 4:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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