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Stocks end a volatile week down slightly

Stocks ended a volatile week on a low note. The Dow (^DJI) added 39.4 points (about 0.2%) this week. The Nasdaq (^IXIC) lagged by 0.6%  And the S&P 500 (^GSPC) fell flat at 1,872.02, after hitting a new intraday high of 1,884.00.

U.S. investors were unmoved by the latest round of sanctions tit-for-tat between the United States and Russia after the two countries issued more sanctions against individuals. The United States has threatened wider economic sanctions, but so far has stopped short of taking any broader action against Russia. Even as U.S. markets apparently ignore the latest developments, the mention of broader sanctions against Russia was enough send Russian stocks lower.

Two big-name U.S. retail stocks issued warnings for the coming year. Tiffany (TIF) warned full-year earnings would be well below Wall Street expectations, after the luxury jeweler missed earnings and revenue estimates in its latest quarterly report issued before the opening bell. Nike (NKE) also issued downbeat guidance for the full-year, citing a stronger dollar that will continue to weigh on overseas results. For the fiscal third quarter ended February 28, Nike reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue.

Darden Restaurants (DRI) reported better-than-expected earnings-per-share before the bell, beating Wall Street estimates by $0.20. Revenue came in just slightly shy of expectations. The parent company of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse also reaffirmed its guidance for the full-year and said plans to spin off its Red Lobster chain are “well under way”.

And Symantec (SYMC) closed down 13% after the security software developer fired CEO Steve Bennett, effective immediately. Symantec board member Michael Brown will replace Bennett. The company said the decision was the result of “an ongoing deliberative process” and was not the result of any event or impropriety.

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