* U.S. job growth an upbeat sign for weather-beaten economy
* Nasdaq up for fifth consecutive week
* Putin rebuffs Obama as Ukraine crisis escalates
* Dow up 0.2 pct; S&P 500 flat; Nasdaq off 0.4 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, March 7 U.S. stocks finished mostly
higher on Friday, with the S&P 500 closing at a record after
more jobs than expected were created in February and January's
figure was revised higher.
The S&P 500 ended at a record closing high for the second day
in a row. Friday's milestone also was the S&P 500's fifth record
closing high in the past seven sessions.
But the overall sentiment was cautious and trading was
volatile throughout the session as investors adjusted their
positions ahead of the weekend and kept a close eye on the
simmering crisis in Ukraine.
The S&P 500 had climbed to an intraday record of 1,883.57
shortly after the opening bell, lifted by the Labor Department's
report showing that U.S. employers added 175,000 jobs to their
payrolls in February. Economists had expected a gain of 149,000
jobs, according to a Reuters poll.
"It seems that the decent February employment report,
although a step in the right direction, has resolved little,"
said Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at Interactive
Brokers LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut.
"Stocks are suffering from some inevitable ebbing following
the latest strong flow. That, in turn, has prompted further
defensive demand for the protection afforded by options."
The CBOE Volatility Index or the VIX, Wall Street's
fear gauge, fell 0.7 percent to close at 14.11. But VIX April
and May futures were up at 15.83 and 16.45,
The intermediate-term picture of the stock market remains
bullish, but "the overbought conditions are building and a
sharp, but short-lived correction can be expected at any time,"
said Larry McMillan, president of McMillan Analysis Corp, in a
note to clients.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 30.83 points or
0.19 percent, to end at 16,452.72. The S&P 500 gained
1.01 points or 0.05 percent, to finish at 1,878.04. But the
Nasdaq Composite dropped 15.903 points or 0.37 percent,
to close at 4,336.223.
Both the Dow and the S&P 500 ended higher for the second
straight week, with the Dow up 0.8 percent and the S&P 500 up 1
percent. The Nasdaq recorded its fifth straight weekly advance,
up 0.7 percent.
Boeing Co shares fell 1 percent in extended-hours
trading following news that "hairline cracks" had been
discovered in the wings of 787 Dreamliner jets still in
production. Boeing shares had ended the regular
session at $128.54, down 0.3 percent.
Nike Inc shares, up 1.6 percent at $79.46, and Exxon
Mobil, up 1.3 percent at $94.99, ranked as the Dow's top
gainers and helped the blue-chip average outperform the broader
Geopolitical concerns increased when Russian President
Vladimir Putin rebuffed a warning from U.S. President Barack
Obama over Moscow's military intervention in Crimea, saying
Russia could not ignore calls for help from Russian speakers in
After investors piled into gold, crude and grains on Monday
as tensions escalated over Crimea, they have cautiously returned
to stocks around the world. A gauge of global equities
traded near a six-year high.
Shares of FireEye Inc dropped 9.5 percent to $81.04
after the network security company priced a follow-on public
offering. The company sold 14 million shares of its common stock
at $82 per share.
Safeway Inc, the second-largest U.S. mainstream
grocery store operator, said Thursday that private equity firm
Cerberus Capital Management would acquire the company in a deal
valued at about $9.4 billion. Safeway shares fell 2.2 percent to
Skullcandy Inc shares shot up 24.2 percent to $9.23
after the headphone maker posted fourth-quarter earnings and
provided an outlook for the first quarter and full year.
Big Lots Inc shares surged 23 percent to $35.97
after the close-outs retailer reported a better-than-expected
adjusted profit for the holiday quarter.
About 6.9 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, according
to data from BATS Global Markets, slightly below the daily
average of about 7 billion in the past month.
Decliners outnumbered advancers on the New York Stock
Exchange by 1,751 to 1,247. On the Nasdaq, a total of 1,320
stocks fell, while 1,264 rose.