May 05 - Summary: Stocks rose on the back of a pickup in the services sector but violence in Ukraine kept investors on edge; Apple tops $600 for first time since 2012; Target CEO gets the boot. Conway G. Gittens reports.
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During the regular session, stocks ended with a slight positive bias after the services sector expanded at its fastest pace in eight months. Gains, however, kept in check by escalating violence in Ukraine.
Financial stocks were under pressure after a late Friday warning from JP Morgan Chase.
But Apple closed above $600 a share for the first time since October 2012.
Big shakeup at Target. Chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel losing his job- in the wake of the devastating data breach that hurt the retailer's profits during the crucial holiday shopping season.
Reuters cyber security correspondent Jim Finkle:
SOUNDBITE: JIM FINKLE, REUTERS CYBER SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (ENGLISH) SAYING:
"What they haven't done yet is name a new chief information security officer. A lot of companies have chief information security officers and have had them for some time, and the fact that Target, being such a large company, didn't have one to begin with is seen as a failing of the CEO and may be one of the reasons he is leaving."
Besides that, Targets financial results haven't been great for a while. Investors - not convinced a turnaround is imminent - sending shares of the No. 3 U.S. retailer down by more than 3 percent.
General Motors is adding to its list of recalls. This time nearly 52,000 new model SUVs are being called back because faulty software can incorrectly measure how much fuel is in the vehicle. GM has recalled about 7 million vehicles so far this year. By the way another top engineer is leaving the company. Shares of GM finishing lower on the day.
Pfizer says it's not taking no for an answer when it comes to AstraZeneca. The drugmaker says it is weighing all options in pursuit, and did not rule out a potential hostile approach. AstraZeneca has rejected three offers from its suitor. Pfizer's results show why it's not willing to give up. Sales at the Pfizer came in well below forecasts as generic drug competition hurt revenues. Pfizer was off by 2-1/2 percent.
In Europe- markets were closed in London- but the other major indexes were mixed, mostly weighed down by worries over Ukraine and the Chinese economy.