REUTERS/China DailyStock markets around the world got walloped.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 14,776.1, -170.3, -1.1 %
- S&P 500: 1,630.4, -26.3, -1.5%
- NASDAQ: 3,578.5, -79.0, -2.1%
And now, the top stories:
- The stock market sell-off began long before the U.S. trading session started. All of this comes amid escalating tensions in Syria. "Make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapons against the world's most vulnerable people," said Secretary of State John Kerry.
- Stock markets across Europe fell by over 2%. Dubai fell by 7%. Saudi Arabia fell by 4%. Gold and oil prices surged.
- "Geopolitical risk is back to worry financial investors," said UBS's Paul Donovan. "US Secretary of State Kerry's comments about holding Syria's government to account for its actions have raised concerns about possible military involvement (the White House says no decision has been made). Whatever the human or moral concerns, economically there is little direct consequence from international involvement in Syria. Rather the economic reaction depends on the reaction of other (more economically significant) countries to international involvement in Syria."
- According to S&P/Case-Shiller, U.S. home prices climbed by 12.0% year-over-year in June. "Overall, the report shows that housing prices are rising but the pace may be slowing," said S&P's David Blitzer. "Thirteen out of twenty cities saw their returns weaken from May to June. As we are in the middle of a seasonal buying period, we should expect to see the most gains. With interest rates rising to almost 4.6%, home buyers may be discouraged and sharp increases may be dampened."
- The Conference Board's measure of Consumer Confidence unexpectedly jumped to 81.5 in August from 81.0 in July. Economists were looking for a reading of 79.0. "Consumers were moderately more upbeat about business, job and earning prospects," said the Conference Board's Lynn Franco. "In fact, income expectations, which had declined sharply earlier this year with the payroll tax hike, have rebounded to their highest level in two and a half years."
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