After Market: Jittery Investors Fear Putin Won't Take the Weekend Off


Stocks ended Friday in positive territory, though they gave up most of the day's gains in the afternoon as investors grew scared of the upcoming weekend. This has been the pattern on Fridays ever since Russia invaded and annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea last month: Early gains dissipate as the weekend draws near. A lot of investors have been taking money off the table, just in case something happens before the market reopens Monday.

AP/Pavel GolovkinRussian soldiers stand near a tank at a former Ukrainian military base in Perevalne, outside Simferopol, Crimea, on Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 59 points; it had been up more than 160. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 8 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 4 points. But the Nasdaq was still down about 3 percent for the week.

Microsoft (MSFT) rose 2 percent Friday and Cisco (CSCO) gained 1.5 percent, helping all three major averages. And Tesla rose 2.5 percent after federal regulators closed an investigation into fires in the electric carmaker's batteries.

But some of the other momentum plays are suddenly out of favor. Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Yelp (YELP) and Netflix (NFLX) continued to lose ground. Netflix has declined in 16 of the last 18 trading days.

Biotechs, too, continued to lose favor. The Nasdaq Biotech Index is now down 14 percent from the record high set about a month ago. Biogen (BIIB) lost another 5 percent, Gilead (GILD) and Regeneron (REGN) both lost 4 percent and Alnylam Pharmaceutical (ALNY) fell 5 percent.

Elsewhere, Blackberry (BBRY) lost 7 percent as quarterly sales declined. It's now down about 40 percent from a year ago, and there are growing doubts about the company's turnaround effort.

Red Hat (RHT) fell 7 percent. The open-source software company warns that earnings will fall short of Wall Street expectations.

The big California utility PG&E (PCG) fell 4 percent. The company expects criminal charges will be filed against it stemming from a 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight people.

And Caesars Entertainment (CZR) fell 7.5 percent. It plans to sell new shares, which will dilute the value of existing shares.

Among the gainers, homebuilders Lennar (LEN), Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV) and Ryland Group (RYL) all gained more than 2 percent. And Restoration Hardware (RH) nailed it, jumping 13 percent on an upbeat earnings outlook.

What to Watch Monday:

  • The Institute For Supply Management - Chicago releases its March survey of purchasing managers at 9:45 a.m.

  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas releases its March survey of Texas manufacturers at 10:45 a.m.

  • Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks at the National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference in Chicago.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.