Traders work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., March 7, 2022.
Traders work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., March 7, 2022. Reuters / ANDREW KELLY

Major U.S. stock indexes stumbled on Friday as tech and growth shares led a broad decline and investors worried about the conflict in Ukraine while attention turned to the Federal Reserve's policy meeting next week.

At the end of a volatile week, indexes had opened higher after Russian President Vladimir Putin said there were "certain positive shifts" in talks with Ukraine, without providing any details, but stocks then faded during the session.

All 11 S&P 500 sectors ended down, with communication services falling 1.9% and technology dropping 1.8%.

"After we saw a bounce in the middle of the week, there is still too much uncertainty out there," said Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak. "The market has had a tough couple of Mondays so I think the short-term players want to take some chips off the table."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 229.88 points, or 0.69%, to 32,944.19, the S&P 500 lost 55.21 points, or 1.30%, to 4,204.31 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 286.15 points, or 2.18%, to 12,843.81.

The benchmark S&P 500 fell 2.9% for the week, and logged its second straight weekly decline. The Dow fell for a fifth straight week.

On Friday, declines in shares of megacap growth companies such as Apple Inc and Tesla Inc dragged on the S&P 500. Apple fell 2.4% while Tesla dropped 5.1%.

Meta Platforms shares fell 3.9% as Russia opened a criminal case against the Facebook parent after the social network changed its hate speech rules to allow users to call for "death to the Russian invaders" in the context of the war with Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine had reached a "strategic turning point" in the conflict with Russia, but Russian forces bombarded cities across the country and appeared to be regrouping for a possible assault on the capital Kyiv.

Regarding developments in the Ukraine crisis, "you just don't know what you are going to see so there's no reason to go into the weekend with a risk-on attitude," said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Growth stocks also came under pressure as the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield hovered near 2%.

Stocks have struggled this year as concerns about the Russia-Ukraine crisis have deepened a sell-off initially fueled by worries over higher bond yields as the Fed is expected to tighten monetary policy this year to fight inflation. The S&P 500 is down 11.8% in 2022.

The U.S. central bank is expected to raise rates at its March 15-16 meeting.

A survey showed U.S. consumer sentiment fell more than expected in early March as gasoline prices surged to a record high in the aftermath of Russia's war against Ukraine.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.83-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.54-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 13 new 52-week highs and 16 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 36 new highs and 274 new lows.

About 13 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the 13.6 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.