Stocks end down as Ukraine fears eclipse jobs data

STORY: Wall Street ended lower on Friday as the war in Ukraine overshadowed a much better-than-expected February jobs report that pointed to strength in the U.S. economy.

The Dow finished 0.53% lower, and the S&P 500 ended 0.79% lower, while the Nasdaq lost 1.66%.

Rebecca Felton, a senior market strategist at RiverFront Investment Group, said given the backdrop of an ongoing war in Europe, it's hard for investors to focus on a strong U.S. jobs report.

"Well, it was very encouraging, just from the standpoint of the fact that the numbers were better than expected, the fact that the unemployment rate continued to move lower. I think it's down to 3.8%. So you're essentially back to pre-pandemic levels in terms of actual unemployment numbers. And there are actually, I think, more people working than there were then. But, nonetheless, that is, right now, has to be considered looking in the rearview mirror because no one is worried so much about some of the good economic data that we've had this week... And, looking forward, everything is going to really key off the price of oil, I think."

The war in Ukraine continued to boost energy stocks as crude oil prices and other commodities rallied once again.

Financial stocks led the broader decline on Friday as investors worried about how sanctions against Russia may affect the international banking system.

The S&P 500 banks index sank again, bringing the losses for the week to nearly 9%, its worst weekly decline since June of 2020.

Big tech stocks Apple, Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet all lost more than 1% on Friday.

And one of the session's biggest losers was WW International, formerly Weight Watchers, dropping 8.56% after the Federal Trade Commission said the company "illegally" collected personal information from children without parental permission.