Stocks tumble, oil surges on Syria jitters

3:13 PM, Aug 27, 2013   |    comments
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in September 2012. (Photo: David Karp, AP)
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Stocks tumbled and the price of crude oil surged Tuesday, fueled by fears the U.S. government is gearing up for a redoubled confrontation with Syria.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 170 points, or 1.1%, to 14,776, according to preliminary calculations. The Standard & Poor's 500 index plunged 27, or 1.6%, to 1,630.

The tech-laden Nasdaq composite index fell 79 points, or 2.2%, to 3,579, as Facebook's effort to hit a post-IPO record high stumbled. The social media giant's shares fell below $40, dropping $1.70, or 4.1%, to $39.64.

On Monday, the Dow fell 0.4% to close at 14,946.46, dipping below 15,000 for the second straight week. The S&P 500 index slipped 0.4% to close at 1,656.78, more than 50 points off its all-time closing high of 1,709.67 on Aug. 2. The Nasdaq composite declined to 3,657.57.

MONDAY: Stocks turn lower as Dow falls below 15,000

Markets in the U.S. were rattled after Secretary of State John Kerry said there was "undeniable" evidence of a large-scale chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government against rebellious civilians last week, and suggested the administration was edging closer to a military response.

In global markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 benchmark closed down 93.91 points, or 0.7%, to 13,542.37. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished down 130.55 points, or 0.6%, to 21,874.77, and Mumbai's Sensex index plunged 590 points, 3.2%, to end at 17,968.08 as the nation's currency, the rupee, hit a new low off recent comments in the Federal Reserve's policy-making meeting minutes.

In Europe, stocks sold off: UK's FTSE 100 index finished down 51.13 points, or 0.8% to 6,440.97 and Germany's DAX 30 index tumbled 2.3% to close at 8,242.56. France's CAC 40 index ended down 98.40 points, or 2.4%, to 3,968.73.

Gold, which typically rises as world tensions do, jumped $25 an ounce, or $1.8%, to $1,418.

In the U.S. Treasury market, another traditional safe haven, traders pushed prices up and yields down. The bellwether 10-year Treasury note yield fell to 2.71% from 2.81% Monday as its price surged.

Benchmark oil for October delivery was up more than $3, up 2.9%, to about $109 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Contributing: Associated Press

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