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Stocks Narrowly Capture Gains After Jobs Report

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Markets narrowly captured gains Friday as investors weighed a better U.S. jobs report for February against rising tensions in Ukraine. Russia said Ukraine must pay almost $2 billion it owed for natural gas by Friday or risk supplies being cut.

The Ukraine government has claimed results of a March 16 vote on Crimea becoming part of Russia would not be valid. Meanwhile, Western governments have pushed to impose sanctions on Russia for its moves in the region.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.19% to 16,452.72, while the S&P 500 lifted 0.05% -- a record high -- to 1,878.04. The Nasdaq was down 0.37% to 4,336.22. The Dow, S&P and Nasdaq climbed 0.8%, 1% and 0.65%, respectively.
  • The U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for February showed a gain of 175,000 jobs, greater than the 149,000 jobs expected by economists. The jobless rate came in at 6.7% compared with expectations of 6.6%. January consumer credit numbers will be released at 3 p.m. EST. New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley said Friday that improved U.S. economic data of late hasn't been sufficient to halt the Fed's easy monetary policy.
  • President Obama and his allies in the EU are working to impose sanctions as punishment for Russia's attempt to take hold of the Ukraine's Crimea region. Germany's DAX was falling 2.01% while the FTSE in the U.K. was off 1.12%. The Hang Seng closed 0.19% lower while the Nikkei jumped 0.92%.
  • Big Lots (BIG) surged 23% after it topped fourth-quarter earnings expectations by 5 cents a share. Foot Locker (FL) gained 8.8% after it beat fourth-quarter earnings estimates by 6 cents at 82 cents a share while same-store sales rose 5.3%. Safeway (SWY - Get Report) shares were 2.2% lower after news of a merger with supermarket chain Albertsons, while Skullcandy (SKUL - Get Report) shares jumped 24.2% after results topped estimates. Key laggards in the S&P include Peabody Energy (BTU) and Freeport-McMoRan Copper& Gold (FCX), off 5.3% and 4.9%, respectively. GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) increased 3.1% after Credit Suisse placed a buy recommendation on the shares.


-- By Jane Searle, Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York

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