Global stocks pause, dollar jumps on Yellen comments, Ukraine

Fri Aug 22, 2014 5:10pm EDT
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By Michael Connor

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street and other stock markets paused on Friday, halting the week's strong gains, as worsening Ukraine tensions dogged trading, while the dollar rose after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said policymakers eyeing interest rate hikes need to move cautiously.

Ukraine on Friday said Russia had launched a "direct invasion" of its territory after Moscow sent a convoy of aid trucks across the border into eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are fighting government forces.

Moscow, which has thousands of troops close to the Russian side of the border, warned against any attempt to "disrupt" the convoy but did not say what action it might take if Kiev's military intervened.

"The market probably is a little naive in thinking the Ukraine thing is going to blow over pretty soon," said Erik Davidson, deputy chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank in San Francisco. "We will probably be talking about Ukraine through the winter."

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 38.27 points, or 0.22 percent, to 17,001.22, the S&P 500 lost 3.97 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,988.40, and the Nasdaq Composite added 6.45 points, or 0.14 percent, to 4,538.55.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries ended up 2/32 of a point in price to yield 2.40 percent. The 30-year Treasury traded up 22/32 of a point in price to yield 3.15 percent and benefited from Europe's weakness, geopolitical concerns and views that U.S. growth is as robust as thought.

The U.S. dollar index, which values the greenback against a basket of a half dozen major currencies, was up 0.2 percent at 82.310 after setting a 2014 high of 82.456. The euro was off 0.35 percent against the dollar at $1.323.

“She gave everybody a bone and didn’t commit herself to anything that the market hadn’t already considered," Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors in New York, said of Yellen's comments.   Continued...

Packs of U.S. one hundred dollar bills are counted at a bank in Westminster, Colorado November 3, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking