Mar 14 - The Dow fell for the fifth day in a row, its first weekly decline in three weeks and the Nasdaq snapped a five-week rally, as investors await the West's response to a weekend vote that could split Ukraine. Conway G. Gittens reports.
What do you do, when you don't know what to do? Do nothing. That's what investors did as they await the outcome of this weekend's vote in Crimea, Ukraine. Stocks on Friday - little changed after the beating they took the day before. That loss sealed the fate for blue chips -down for the first time in three weeks and the Nasdaq down for the first week in six. Bond yields were significantly lower compared to the beginning of the week as investors flock to the perceived safety of U.S. government debt. Markets may be relieved come Monday, but then another geopolitical guessing game will begin, warns Diane Garnick of Clear Alternatives. SOUNDBITE: DIANE GARNICK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, CLEAR ALTERNATIVES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There is a growing minority that believes Crimea is the first of many dominoes. In other words, this group believes that once Crimea is done, Russia will continue to take more and more land, with the golden place really being Kiev; continuing to move all through out the Ukraine." General Motors breaking a four-day slide. There was a report by the Center for Auto Safety saying deaths linked to GM's 1.3 million vehicle recall are actually more than 300 people. GM dismissed the report as lacking "rigorous analysis." Meanwhile analysts think the financial impact of the recall with be minimal. Shares of GM climbing roughly one percent. General Mills, however, down more than two percent. Penny-pinching consumers causing the food company to cut profit forecasts. Cisco Systems is investigating bribery allegations involving the company and its resellers in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The fact digging mission comes at the request of the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Shares of the network equipment maker down less than a full percent. On economic watch...Consumer sentiment unexpectedly slipped to a November low, with weather continuing to dampen shoppers moods. Meanwhile, producer prices fell last month, increasing the chance that the Federal Reserve won't be hiking interest rates any time soon. In Europe - the losses are adding up as Crimeans prepare to line up to vote on Sunday.