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U.S. stocks slumped to a close today, with all three major indices noting losses and continuing the downward spiral that took off in Thursday's session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.27%, or 43 points, at 16,066 points; The S&P 500 closed down 0.29%, or 5 points, at 1,841 points; and the Nasdaq Composite Index closed down 0.36%, or 15 points, at 4,245 points.
Investors' concerns this week were mainly geopolitical, with top worries revolving around growth in China and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Economic data released today did little to improve stocks' trajectory. Producer prices dropped 0.1% in February, the first decline in four months and short of the consensus for a 0.2% increase. Wholesale prices rose a mere 0.1%, which just met economists' consensus.
Meanwhile, metals and energy futures rallied. Gold for April delivery settled up more than 3% for the week, closing up 0.5% today at $1,379.00 per ounce. Silver traded up 1% to settle at $21.41 per ounce.
And, crude oil for April delivery closed up today, but lost about 4% this week, settling at $98.89 per barrel.
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Today's Top Stock Market Gainers: Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK)
Shares of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK) hit a record high of $91.97 after Cowen & Co raised its price target to $100 from $95 with an Outperform rating.
Meanwhile, the airline said it lowered its first-quarter cost of available seat miles, excluding fuel, and reaffirmed a 4.2% increase in capacity. ALK last traded up about 5% higher at $91.33, with a new 52-week high of $91.97.
In other stock market gainers today, Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Tech (Nasdaq: HART) shares jumped to a record of $11.58 Friday, up about 14% after the clinical stage medical company posted an updated investor presentation.
Harvard Apparatus says, among several key points, that it expects Food and Drug Administration approval for its bioreactor technology in 2017.
Finally, Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NYSE: NSM) shares were up 5.5% at $32.99 in Friday's session after Hayman Capital Management disclosed a 4.7 million share stake in the company, according to a 13G filing today.
NSM marked a session high at $33.47 and trades in a 52-week range of $24.50 to $57.95.
Today's Major Stock Market Losers: Aeropostale, General Mills
Aeropostale Inc. (NYSE: ARO) shares sunk about 19% in today's session to the lowest level in about a decade after the retailer reported fourth-quarter net sales decreased 16% to $670 million, from $797.7 million in the year-ago period. It reported an adjusted net loss of $0.35 per share compared to income of $0.24 per share a year earlier.
The Street expected a loss of $0.31 per share and revenue of $685 million.
Meanwhile, General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS) shares also took a hit today, with the stock down about 3% on quarterly results and guidance. The foods company said it expects its retail segment's operating profit to be 10% to 11% below year-ago results while it also expects total segment operating profit to be down on the year.
General Mills expects sales and operating profit for the quarter will reflect approximately 1% lower volume, which it says is consistent with recent food industry trends in developed markets.