• SPI futures down 16 points to 5455, indicating a sluggish start to Monday's trade.
  • AUD at 90.68 US cents; it was also at 93.65 yen, 65.36 euro cents and 54.24 British pence.
  • On Wall Street, the Dow gained 0.2%, the S&P was up 0.1% to a new record close and the Nasdaq dipped 0.4%.
  • In Europe, London’s FTSE fell 1.1% while Frankfurt’s DAX tumbled 2%. EuroStoxx lost 1.6% and the CAD in Paris slipped 1.2%.
  • Brent oil rose rose 0.6% to $US108.77.
  • Spot gold was down 0.8% to $US1333.90 an ounce

US stocks finished mostly higher on Friday, with the S&P 500 closing at a record after more jobs than expected were created in February and January's figure was revised higher.

The S&P 500 ended at a record closing high for the second day in a row. Friday's milestone also was the S&P 500's fifth record closing high in the past seven sessions.

But the overall sentiment was cautious and trading was volatile throughout the session as investors adjusted their positions ahead of the weekend and kept a close eye on the simmering crisis in Ukraine.

The S&P 500 had climbed to an intraday record of 1,883.57 shortly after the opening bell, lifted by the Labor Department's report showing that US employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls in February. Economists had expected a gain of 149,000 jobs, according to a Reuters poll.

But as the market digested the jobs report, some analysts said the data has sparked the possibility that the US Federal Reserve would take more action at its policy meeting later this month. The Fed, however, is expected to keep reducing its monthly bond-buying program.

"It seems that the decent February employment report, although a step in the right direction, has resolved little," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at Interactive Brokers LLC in Greenwich,Connecticut.

"Stocks are suffering from some inevitable ebbing following the latest strong flow. That, in turn, has prompted further defensive demand for the protection afforded by options."

The CBOE Volatility Index or the VIX, Wall Street's fear gauge, fell 0.7 per cent to close at 14.11. But VIX April and May futures were up at 15.83 and 16.45, respectively.

The intermediate-term picture of the stock market remains bullish, but "the overbought conditions are building and a sharp, but short-lived correction can be expected at any time," said Larry McMillan, president of McMillan Analysis Corp, in a note to clients.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 30.83 points or 0.19 per cent, to end at 16,452.72. The S&P 500 gained 1.01 points or 0.05 per cent, to finish at 1,878.04. But the Nasdaq Composite dropped 15.903 points or 0.37 per cent, to close at 4,336.223.

Both the Dow and the S&P 500 ended higher for the second straight week, with the Dow up 0.8 per cent and the S&P 500 up 1 per cent. The Nasdaq recorded its fifth straight weekly advance, up 0.7 per cent.

Nike Inc shares, up 1.6 per cent at $US79.46, and Exxon Mobil, up 1.3 per cent at $US94.99, ranked as the Dow's top gainers and helped the blue-chip average outperform the broader market.

Geopolitical concerns increased when Russian President Vladimir Putin rebuffed a warning from US President Barack Obama over Moscow's military intervention in Crimea, saying Russia could not ignore calls for help from Russian speakers in Ukraine.

After investors piled into gold, crude and grains on Monday as tensions escalated over Crimea, they have cautiously returned to stocks around the world. A gauge of global equities traded near a six-year high.

Shares of FireEye Inc dropped 9.5 per cent to $US81.04 after the network security company priced a follow-on public offering. The company sold 14 million shares of its common stock at $US82 per share.

Safeway Inc, the second-largest US mainstream grocery store operator, said Thursday that private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management would acquire the company in a deal valued at about $US9.4 billion ($10.4 billion). Safeway shares fell 2.2 per cent to $US38.60.

Skullcandy Inc shares shot up 24.2 per cent to $US9.23 after the headphone maker posted fourth-quarter earnings and provided an outlook for the first quarter and full year.

Big Lots Inc shares surged 23 per cent to $US35.97 after the close-outs retailer reported a better-than-expected adjusted profit for the holiday quarter.

Trading volume was lower than average, with about 6.7 billion shares traded on US exchanges, according to data from BATS Global Markets, below the daily average of about 7 billion in the past month.

Decliners outnumbered advancers on the New York Stock Exchange by 1,751 to 1,247. On the Nasdaq, a total of 1,320 stocks fell, while 1,264 rose.

Reuters