December 10, 2013
Syria pushes up oil prices; Wall Street rebounds
Concerns about a possible US-led military strike on Syria sent oil prices higher on Wednesday and triggered a safe-haven run to gold and the dollar. Wall Street meanwhile recovered after a difficult day's trading on Tuesday to close with some modest gains.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 7.3 points or 0.05 percent, to 14,783.43, the S&P 500 lost 0.43 points or 0.03 percent, to 1,630.05 and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.057 points or 0.06 percent, to 3,580.581.
In Europe, a spike in oil prices dented airline shares helping push down equities for a third day as the threat of an attack against Syria looked closer, but boosted oil producers such as Statoil and BG Group.
The prospect of a US-led attack on Syria, possibly within days, has raised concerns about the impact on the broader region. That has prompted investors to cash in on an 8 percent rally in European stocks since late June and buy government bonds and other assets less reliant on global economic conditions.
n Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 fell 3.80 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,198.56, finding technical support around 1,192 after breaking below the 50-day moving average. The euro zone Euro STOXX 50 was 0.5 percent lower at 2,736.48 points. Both indexes suffered their worst daily loss since June on Tuesday.
The FTSEurofirst 300 is still up 5.3 percent this year but has pulled back 3.9 percent since mid-August due to an expected reduction in US monetary stimulus, a political crisis in Italy and, this week, the situation in Syria.
Sentiment surrounding Europe has improved on more upbeat economic data from the region this summer, helping the FTSEurofirst 300 outperform the US S&P 500 by roughly 1.6 percent since June.
Travel & leisure stocks fell 2.3 percent, led by airlines such as Lufthansa, as the prospect of military action against Syria fuelled concern about Middle Eastern crude supply, jolting oil prices higher.
The jump in crude prices, however, boosted oil & gas stocks , which rose 1.7 percent, with Norway's Statoil up 2.3 percent, also thanks to a new discovery. International gas and oil producer BG Group jumped 2.9 percent.
Meanwhile, a selloff in global equities dragged Japan's Nikkei share average to a two-month low on as concerns over the implications of the possible US-led military strike on Syria sent investors scurrying out of riskier assets and drove the safe-haven yen higher.
The benchmark Nikkei slipped 1.5 percent to 13,338.46, it's third-straight day of losses and marked the lowest close since June 27 - the index had earlier slipped to 13,188.14. The broader Topix dropped 1.8 percent to 1,114.03 in thin trade.