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Stocks Slump Amid Ukraine Gridlock; Men's Wearhouse to Buy Jos. A. Bank


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks slumped Tuesday afternoon, as the Ukrainian crisis lingered amid gridlock in discussions between the U.S. and Russia. Concerns remained around Chinese economic growth after a poor export result on Monday, though investors were more willing to attribute the result to regulatory and seasonal factors.

In company news, Men's Wearhouse (MW) was surging 6.12% and Jos. A. Bank (JOSB) was popping nearly 4% after they announced that Men's Wearhouse will acquire Jos. A. Bank for $65 a share in cash, or a total of $1.8 billion.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.41% to 16,351.25, while the S&P 500 was 0.51% lower at 1,867.63. The Nasdaq dropped 0.63% to 4,307.19.
  • "We're seeing some consolidation after a good run up in February -- so all things considered with the weather and geo-political news, we'll take this," Matt Cheslock, a trader at Virtu Financial, told TheStreet.
  • Russia said it was drafting a counterproposal to a U.S. plan for a solution to Ukraine's crisis even as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rejected an offer of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying a dialogue could only begin when Moscow started engaging in U.S. proposals. The European Union has told Russia it will risk more sanctions if it does not change its intentions in the Crimea by next week. The Crimea will vote later this month on whether to become part of Russia.
  • Exxon (XOM) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) are part of an oil exploration group that is at risk of losing Black Sea oil and natural gas drilling prospects due to the crisis in Ukraine. The companies were looking to spend $735 million to drill two wells, Bloomberg reported. Both stocks slid -- Exxon decreased 1.6% while Royal Dutch Shell dropped 0.71%.
  • Key stock laggards included DuPont (DD), which was down 2% after saying that its first-quarter revenue and earnings growth would be challenged by extended harsh weather in North America, farmer uncertainty and business disruptions in Ukraine. It reiterated its full-year earnings outlook of $4.20 to $4.45 a share. Other laggards included Home Depot  (HD),down 0.51%, and Urban Outfitters (URBN), which dropped 4.3% after voicing uncertainty about first-quarter performance.
  • Apple (AAPL) gained 0.97% after Pacific Crest Securities hiked its view on the stock to "outperform" from "sector perform," explaining that the potential for a higher-priced iPhone 6 could trigger a renewal of growth in the company's fiscal 2015. Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) was up 4.3% after beating fourth-quarter sales expectations and reporting in-line earnings of $1.11 a share.
  • International markets were largely stabilizing after taking a hit during the prior session on soft China trade data and Japan GDP data. The DAX in Germany was up 0.46%, the FTSE 100 in London was down 0.06%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng settled up 0.02%, and the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.69%.

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

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