The S&P 500
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to support President Obama's efforts to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine. The Senate is expected to vote next week on the aid package. Crimea's government said it would hold a referendum on March 16 on a plan already approved by the region's parliament to secede from Ukraine and become part of Russia.
The KBW Bank index (I:BKX) rose 0.8% to close at 70.68, with all but two of the 24 component stocks ending with gains. This was the third straight gain for the KBW Bank Index, which is now up 2% this year, following returns of 35% in 2013 and 30% in 2012.
Economic news was mixed. The Department of Labor said initial unemployment claims for the week ended March 1 came in at 323,000, down from the previous week's revised figure of 349,000. The previous week's estimate was raised only slightly from 348,000. The four-week moving average for unemployment claim was 336,500, down 2,000 from 338,500 the previous week.