The stock markets in the United States declined again on Friday amid discussion with Russia to end its ongoing conflict with Ukraine regarding the control of Crimea prior to a referendum on Sunday.

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United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov negotiated for six hours in London in an effort to end the crisis in Ukraine, but failed.

According to Sec. Kerry, Russian President Valdimir Putin “is not prepared to make any decision regarding Ukraine until after the referendum on Sunday.”  On the other hand, Lavrov said Russia intends to “respect the will” of the people of Crimea after they vote on separating the peninsula from Ukraine. He added that there was “no common vision” on resolving the crisis.

The United States and the European Union warned of sanctions against Russia if it will not withdraw from occupying Crimea.

Commenting on the situation, John Carey, fund manager at Pioneer Investment Management told Bloomberg, “Everyone is watching this Ukraine situation, not knowing what to make of it.” He added, “Consumer confidence was a little low, although I think people still need to coincide what the weather has done to the data. People are realizing the market is okay if we don’t have real setback internationally.”

American consumer confidence declined to a four-month low in March to 79.9 percentage points from 81.6 last month, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of confidence.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,067.40 (-0.26%)
  • S&P 500- 1,841.12 (-0.28%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,245.40 (-0.65%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,180.98 (-0.36%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,004.64 (-0.49%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,527.89 (-0.40%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,056.41 (+0.43%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 14,327.66 (-3.30%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 21,539.49 (-1.00%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,122.84 (-0.82%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Aeropostale Inc (NYSE:ARO) declined more than 20% to $5.33 per share after it projected that it would incur a loss of $0.75 per share in the first quarter. Wall Street analysts estimated that the teen apparel company will suffer a loss of $0.17 per share. The company also announced that Sycamore Partners agreed to provide a $150 million loan as part of its strategic partnership.

The share of Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) fell more than 2% to $16.80 per share after the United States Federal Insurance Corp (FDIC) filed a lawsuit against it for allegedly manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) from 2007 to 2011. The agency also filed similar cases against Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) and Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS). The shares of Citigroup dropped nearly 1% to $46.88 per share while Credit Suisse slumped more than 2% to $30.25 a share.

Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE:BSX) gained more than 2% to $13.01 per share after receiving a CE Mark approval for the Rebel Platinum Chromium Coronary Stent System for the treatment of coronary artery disease.