After Market: Stocks End Month Higher Despite Skittishness over Ukraine


Concerns about the political uncertainty in Ukraine caused some volatility in the markets Friday afternoon, with the major indexes making several U-turns ahead of the weekend.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI), which had been up by as much as 125 points, briefly dropped into loss territory before rebounding to end 49 points higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) edged up 5 points, adding to Thursday's record high, but the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) lost 10 points.

Ukraine Protests
AP/Darko VojinovicPro-Russian militias have seized local government buildings in Crimea, Ukraine; the unrest there is making investors around the world nervous.

February was a great month for investors. All three major averages jumped by about 4 percent.

UnitedHealth Group (UNH) led the blue chips, gaining 1½ percent. Other health providers – Aetna (AET), Wellpoint (WLP), Cigna (CI) and Humana (HUM) -- all gained between 1½ and 2 percent.

And retail stocks remained active. Target (TGT) added another 3 percent. Best Buy rose 4 percent, and Fred's (FRED), a regional department store chain, jumped 10 percent.

But Pier 1 (PIR) fell 5½ percent after lowering its earnings outlook for a second time. That led to a series of brokerage downgrades.

Decker Outdoor (DECK) tumbled 12 percent. The maker of footwear brands such as Ugg and Teva issued a weak outlook. And apparel maker Lululemon (LULU) fell 5-percent on negative comments from Credit Suisse.

It seems as though there are always some big movers in the drug and biotech sectors – and that was certainly the case today.

GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) rose 2 percent after the FDA granted orphan status to its drug to treat a rare form of childhood epilepsy.

But most of the action was on the downside.

Endologix (ELGX) slid 24 percent after forecasting lower revenue growth.

Questcor (QCOR) fell 10 percent. It's lost big for three straight days amid allegations of questionable business practices.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) fell 9 percent. It's also had a wild week following its earnings and a management shake-up.

Elsewhere, United Continental (UAL) fell more than 3 percent. It reported that a high level of weather related cancellations this quarter will hurt revenue.

And Monster Beverage (MNST) rose 4 percent. It reports strong revenue growth despite health concerns about its high-energy drinks.

What to Watch Monday:

  • Automakers release vehicle sales for February.

  • The Commerce Department releases personal income and spending for January at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.

  • At 10 a.m., the Institute for Supply Management releases its manufacturing index for February, and the Commerce Department releases construction spending for January.

  • The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on proposed changes to generic drug labeling.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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