Wall Street ends near flat as Russia concerns linger

NEW YORK Wed Aug 6, 2014 5:13pm EDT

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange July 17, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Major U.S. stock indexes ended little changed on Wednesday, as tensions in Ukraine and Russia and a failed merger between Sprint and T-Mobile offset gains in consumer staples shares.

An initial selloff took the S&P 500 to its 100-day moving average, but by the last hour of trading, the benchmark index was back near the unchanged mark. Sectors posted mixed performances, with four of the S&P's 10 industry sectors ending with gains.

The S&P 500 telecom services sector .SPLRCL slipped 1.3 percent and was the worst-performing industry, with AT&T (T.N) and Verizon (VZ.N) down on news that Sprint (S.N), facing regulatory resistance, gave up its bid for T-Mobile (TMUS.N).

Investors have been expecting a correction, but selloffs this year have generally been brief.

"We've had a lot of forces pushing the markets, whether it's earnings season, employment numbers or geopolitical concerns, but I think if people were really concerned about an invasion in Ukraine or the Middle East, you would see more than a 2 or 3 percent selloff," said Gary Flam, portfolio manager at Bel Air Investment Advisors in Los Angeles.

NATO reported that Russia has around 20,000 combat-ready troops on the eastern border of Ukraine that it could use to invade. Further souring the mood, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Moscow's biggest economic response to Western sanctions so far.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 13.87 points, or 0.08 percent, to 16,443.34. The S&P 500 .SPX was up 0.03 point, or 0 percent, to 1,920.24, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 2.22 points, or 0.05 percent, to 4,355.05.

Walgreen Co (WAG.N) shares fell 14.3 percent to $59.21 after the largest U.S. drug retailer it said it would not use a full takeover of Europe's biggest pharmacy chain, Alliance Boots, to domicile overseas - a move that would shield Walgreen from U.S. taxes.

On the upside, Molson Coors Brewing Company (TAP.N) gained 5.8 percent to $71.08 after better-than-expected earnings, helping lead consumer staples companies higher.

Twenty-First Century Fox Corp (FOXA.O) was another winner, its shares up 3.3 percent to $32.33, a day after the company pulled its $80 billion offer to buy Time Warner Inc (TWX.N). Time Warner slid 12.9 percent to $74.24.

About 6.4 billion shares traded on all U.S. platforms, according to BATS exchange data, compared with the five-day average of 6.8 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,804 to 1,222, for a 1.48-to-1 ratio on the upside. On the Nasdaq, 1,597 issues rose and 1,056 fell for a 1.51-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

(Editing by Nick Zieminski and Leslie Adler)

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Comments (3)
Macedonian wrote:
Where Wall Street is getting its news from ? Probably someone picked up a January issue of NYT or they got sober for a day.

Aug 06, 2014 11:05am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Simplerman wrote:
Party’s over Wall Street.

Say hello to your Ukrainian hangover.

Thanks alot Russia.

Aug 06, 2014 4:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bertanderson wrote:
Yes, the threat of Russia invading is still imminent…but what about the credit emergency in Italy…third largest European economy, Greece still getting bailed out, Argentina defaulting, fighting temporarily on hold in Gaza, US unresolved debt, rising interest rates, over prices stocks – high average P/E for S&P, average to poor earnings being reported, overdue pullback or correction on the market, slow summer months….won’t these factors also keep a lid on rising stocks? I’m not sure you can select one thing.

Aug 06, 2014 5:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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