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Wall Street: S&P 500 fluctuates near record this afternoon

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fluctuated near an all-time high as investors gauged the prospects for higher interest rates after comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen amid escalating tension in Ukraine.

The S&P 500 fell 0.1 percent to 1,990.23 at 2:28 p.m. in New York. The benchmark gauge is less than 10 points from the 2,000 milestone and poised for its biggest weekly gain since April. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 19.78 points, or less than 0.12 percent, to 17,019.71 today. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.19 percent to the highest level since 2000. Trading in S&P 500 companies was 22 percent below the 30- day average for this time of the day.

“Yellen didn’t say anything that moved the market dramatically, the news out of Ukraine took a little bit more of the headlines,” Joe Bell, senior equity analyst at Cincinnati- based Schaeffer’s Investment Research Inc., said in a phone interview.

Stocks dropped early in the day after NATO said it has seen large transfers of advanced weapons and sees an “alarming build-up” of Russian forces near Ukraine. Trucks carrying what Russia says is humanitarian aid crossed the border into Ukraine, whose government said the move amounted to an invasion because the convoy moved without its consent.

Russia is invading under the cover of the aid trucks, Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, the head of Ukraine’s security council, said on TV5.

“The clouds of geopolitical concerns had moved out of the way for a while and the markets were able to bask in the sunshine,” said Mike Franklin, chief investment strategist at Beaufort Securities Ltd. In London. “Now that’s come back.”

The S&P 500 climbed to an all-time closing high of 1,992.37 Thursday as data from housing to manufacturing indicated that the world’s largest economy continues to strengthen.

Intuit Inc. fell 2.3 percent to $83.85 after the company forecast 2015 earnings and revenue that missed analysts’ estimates.

Keurig Green Mountain Inc. surged 14 percent to $134.03, the highest on record, after announcing a deal to bring Kraft Foods Group Inc. coffee brands such as Maxwell House, Yuban and McCafe to its home brewing system.

GameStop Corp. added 5.2 percent to $42.60 after the video- game chain reported profit that beat estimates as consumers bought new players and software.

For more information, see The Buffalo News markets page.