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December 13, 2017
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Wall Street down but pares losses after Brussels blasts

Wall Street closed slightly lower on Tuesday, inching back from an initial selloff that followed deadly attacks in Brussels, as declines in consumer and telecom stocks offset a jump in healthcare shares.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombings at Brussels airport and a rush-hour metro train that killed at least 30 people and triggered security alerts across Europe.

Global risk markets faltered before limping up, while traditional safe havens gold and government bonds firmed as the events in the de facto capital of the European Union unfolded.

The tepid stock market recovery followed earlier patterns of a selloff in reaction to violent events, such as the November attacks in Paris, then a quick recovery.

"When you have an incident like this, you suddenly have a surge in uncertainty because people don’t know what the scale of it is," said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JP Morgan Funds in New York. "As uncertainty goes down, stocks go up."

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 41.3 points, or 0.23 percent, to 17,582.57, the S&P 500 lost 1.8 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2,049.8 and the Nasdaq Composite ha added 12.79 points, or 0.27 percent, to 4,821.66.

European shares fell slightly as losses among travel and leisure stocks after the deadly attacks in Brussels were partly offset by gains in technology and autos.

At least 30 people were killed in attacks on Brussels airport and a rush-hour metro train in the Belgian capital, triggering security alerts across Western Europe.

"Geopolitical risk, including acts of terrorism which directly affect trade or movement, remains a significant risk factor to monitor," said Lorne Baring, managing director of B Capital Wealth Management in Geneva.

"In a period where there is suboptimal growth both in Europe and globally, combined with equity valuations that are no longer cheap, there exists an environment which is susceptible to shocks that can act as a trigger for falls in asset prices."

The STOXX Europe 600 Travel and Leisure index fell 1.8 percent, the top sectoral decliner, with shares in Ryanair , Accor, TUI and IAG all down by 1.5 to 3.8 percent.

Luxury stocks such as Ferragamo, LVMH and L'Oreal were also down by between 1.1 percent and 3.4 percent on concerns travel tourism, a key driver for their sales, could fall in the wake of the attacks.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended down 0.1 percent at 1,338.02 points, after falling as much as 1.6 percent earlier in the session.

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