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Liberty Media Jumps and Tesla Motors Fights Back

Jeremy Bowman
March 14, 2014

Stocks edged down as investors awaited the results of Sunday's referendum in Crimea, which will give voters the option of choosing to leave Ukraine and join Russia, a move that would intensify the standoff between Russia and the West. The VIX shot up as a result, rising 10%, and indicating that put buying was popular as investors sought security from the widening crisis. As for the major indexes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) fell 43 points, or 0.3%, and the S&P 500 dropped by a similar percentage. The week was the worst in seven for stocks on both fears about Ukraine, and worries about the Chinese economy slowing down. The week also saw a record drop in foreign ownership of U.S. treasuries, a development many observers suspected was due to Russia's cutting its holdings of U.S. bonds in preparation for possible sanctions.

In today's domestic economic news, the Producer Price Index fell unexpectedly, declining 0.1% from January on expectations of a 0.2% increase, showing that inflation is well under control, but that demand has been soft. Year over year, the index is up 0.9%, its lowest level since May. Meanwhile, the University of Michigan's first consumer confidence reading in March showed the index had fallen from 81.6 to 79.9, below expectations of 82.0, and a low since November as consumer expectations decline. The number is much stronger than it was two or three years ago, however.</