European stocks lower on Russia, data; bonds prices up
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) - European stocks fell on Wednesday as concerns over a Russian troop build-up on the border with Ukraine sent nervous investors into high-rated bonds, while U.S. stocks managed a slight gain to hold support levels.
The S&P 500 is down more than 3 percent since its most recent record high on July 24, including a drop of nearly 1 percent on Tuesday on concerns of Russian escalation in Ukraine.
But the benchmark index was trading modestly above 1,920, a key technical support level, and also managed to bounce from its 100-day moving average, another support level.
"Europe was in an early stage recovery early in the year and it seemed like Europe had finally turned the corner and they were in a nascent recovery and now this Russian thing has thrown a monkey wrench into that, short term," said Doug Foreman, chief investment officer at Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management in Los Angeles.
"Now you have questions about the sustainability of that recovery over there, so that is bothering their markets, that is bothering our market a little bit and until it gets resolved it is going to continue to be a problem area of the markets."
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 20.04 points, or 0.12 percent, at 16,449.51. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was up 0.95 points, or 0.05 percent, at 1,921.16. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 6.19 points, or 0.14 percent, at 4,359.02.
NATO said on Wednesday that Russia has amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine's eastern border and could use the pretext of a humanitarian or peace-keeping mission to invade.
The euro EUR= hit a nine-month low of $1.331 against the dollar amid threats of retaliatory Russian sanctions against the European Union and signs the crisis in Ukraine was affecting Germany, Europe's biggest economy. But it managed to bounce back and was up slightly at $1.3377. [FRX/] Continued...