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Major U.S. and Canadian stock indexes stumbled on Friday as tech and growth shares led a broad decline and investors worried about the conflict in Ukraine while attention turned to the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting next week.

At the end of a volatile week, Wall Street indexes had opened higher after Russian President Vladimir Putin said there were “certain positive shifts” in talks with Ukraine, without providing any details, but stocks then faded during the session.

The materials sector also weighed on the Canadian stock market, and a blockbuster domestic jobs gain supported expectations for another Bank of Canada interest rate hike next month.

All 11 S&P 500 sectors ended down, with communication services falling 1.9% and technology dropping 1.8%.

“After we saw a bounce in the middle of the week, there is still too much uncertainty out there,” said Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak. “The market has had a tough couple of Mondays so I think the short-term players want to take some chips off the table.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 229.88 points, or 0.69%, to 32,944.19, the S&P 500  lost 55.21 points, or 1.30%, to 4,204.31 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 286.15 points, or 2.18%, to 12,843.81.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended down 119.87 points, or 0.6%, at 21,461.83, after posting on Thursday its highest closing level since Feb. 9.

For the week, the TSX was up 0.3%, its third straight weekly gain, helped by higher commodity prices after a wave of Western sanctions on Russia’s oil imports.

A pullback in some commodity prices weighed on the market on Friday, said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management.

Oil settled 3.1% higher at $109.33 a barrel but copper declined 1.3% and gold was down 0.6%.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.4%, while the TSX technology ended 2.4% lower.

The Bank of Canada raised interest rates last week for the first time in three years. Investors expect further tightening next month after data showed Canada’s economy adding 336,600 jobs in February, more than double the 160,000 analysts had forecast.

Chances that the BoC would move by 50 basis points at its April 13 policy announcement rather than the usual increment of 25 basis points rose to 45% from 37% before the jobs report, money market data showed.

The benchmark S&P 500 fell 2.9% for the week, and logged its second straight weekly decline. The Dow fell for a fifth straight week.

On Friday, declines in shares of megacap growth companies such as Apple Inc and Tesla Inc  dragged on the S&P 500. Apple fell 2.4% while Tesla dropped 5.1%.

Meta Platforms shares fell 3.9% as Russia opened a criminal case against the Facebook parent after the social network changed its hate speech rules to allow users to call for “death to the Russian invaders” in the context of the war with Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine had reached a “strategic turning point” in the conflict with Russia, but Russian forces bombarded cities across the country and appeared to be regrouping for a possible assault on the capital Kyiv.

Regarding developments in the Ukraine crisis, “you just don’t know what you are going to see so there’s no reason to go into the weekend with a risk-on attitude,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Growth stocks also came under pressure as the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield hovered near 2%.

Stocks have struggled this year as concerns about the Russia-Ukraine crisis have deepened a sell-off initially fueled by worries over higher bond yields as the Fed is expected to tighten monetary policy this year to fight inflation. The S&P 500 is down 11.8% in 2022.

The U.S. central bank is expected to raise rates at its March 15-16 meeting.

A survey showed U.S. consumer sentiment fell more than expected in early March as gasoline prices surged to a record high in the aftermath of Russia’s war against Ukraine. 

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.83-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.54-to-1 ratio favored decliners. The S&P 500 posted 13 new 52-week highs and 16 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 36 new highs and 274 new lows. About 13 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the 13.6 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

Oil prices settled higher on Friday but posted their steepest weekly decline since November, as traders assessed potential improvements to the supply outlook that has been disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Crude prices have soared since the invasion, which Moscow calls a “special military operation.” This week, futures benchmarks hit their highest levels since 2008, then pulled back sharply as some producing countries signalled they may boost supply.

On Friday, supply concerns grew when talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal faced the threat of collapse after a last-minute Russian demand forced world powers to pause negotiations.

Brent crude futures rose $3.34, or 3.1%, on Friday, settling at $112.67 a barrel, after hitting a session low of $107.13. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $3.31 to settle at $109.33 a barrel, off the session low of $104.48.

Reuters, Globe staff

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