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Ukraine Scare Stops Bulls in Their Tracks


Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.

Stock were strong out of the gate this morning, but the mood soured as tensions in Ukraine loomed large.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that nonfarm payrolls rose by 288,000 in April, exceeding the 218,000 consensus forecast. February and March's numbers were revised up by a total of 36,000.

Additionally, private and manufacturing payrolls both exceeded expectations.

The unemployment rate was 6.3%, well under the expected 6.6%, but that was mostly because of an expected shrinking of the labor force.

But after a strong start that saw the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) hit an intraday high of 1891.33, attention turned to Ukraine.

At a White House news conference, President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed dismay at Russia's rising aggression, with both threatening tougher sanctions.

The S&P finished 0.1% lower at 1881.14, with investors bidding up US Treasuries, gold, and silver instead.

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) beat first-quarter revenue and earnings estimates after the close Thursday. However, its full-year revenue guidance was slightly below analysts' expectations, and the stock fell 8.4%. Most other social media stocks, including Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Yelp (NYSE:YELP), fell in sympathy.

Other names taking earnings-related hits on Friday included DaVita HealthCare (NYSE:DVA), Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE), and Exelis (NYSE:XLS).

On the positive side, housing and materials stocks were strong today, some safety-oriented plays like utilities pulled back, and the Russell 2000 (INDEXRUSSELL:RUT) was in positive territory.

In deal news, British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) rejected Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) $106 billion bid, claiming it "substantially undervalued" the company.

Investment firm Ares Management LP (NYSE:ARES) began trading today following a significant downsizing of its initial public offering. Ares came public at $19 per share, finishing the day at $18.60.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

The US economic calendar is light on Monday, with just the April ISM Non-Manufacturing Composite and the US Markit PMI on tap.

Earnings season is slowing a bit, but we'll have plenty of reports to watch. Some of the bigger names issuing first-quarter numbers Monday include Pfizer, Sysco (NYSE:SYY), Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN), and American International Group (NYSE:AIG).

Twitter: @Minyanville

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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