Oil prices spike and stocks slump over tensions in the Middle East.
That's the script you're going to be reading countless times over the next week. The reality is traders expect troubles in Syria to have no sustained impact on American business. There are always tensions in the Middle East. Tension is a permanent condition in the region. It never stops. As a percentage play it is too late to sell the Syria rumor and skip to the part where you buy the news.
"This is a different scenario!" howls Todd Schoenberger of LandColt Capital. Syria has Hezbollah waiting in the wings possibly ready to strike Israel or launch terroist attacks on the U.S. if there's an attempt to topple Assad. Syria also has allies in Iran, China, and Russia all standing, if not exactly in "support" of Syria, at least staunchly opposed to U.S. intervention.
Schoenberger believes any protracted conflict in Syria will impact the global economy leading to oil challenging the 2008 highs of $147 and killing any economic growth in Europe before it has a chance to be self-sustaining.
Taking those views into account, Schoenberger says the way to play is getting long gold at any opportunity and buy the miners in particular. Both gold and miners would benefit from the price of the yellow metal being driven higher by turmoil.
Stranger things have happened, but the reality is the U.S. will slap Syria on the wrist, most likely with a UN rubber stamp to justify the move. What the U.S. "should" do is open to debate. As traders see it, Syria is just another headline and little more than something to fill the hours until Wall Street returns from vacation next week.