New war jitters shake Wall Street

Odds of US military intervention in Syria rise after a chemical weapons attack.

By Jim J. Jubak Aug 26, 2013 7:35PM

U.S. stocks fell in the last hour of New York trading after Secretary of State John Kerry raised the odds for armed U.S. intervention in Syria. Kerry said additional information about a recent reported chemical weapon attack is being compiled and will be made public.


With U.S. allies and other countries expressing the need to punish the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad for what looks like the use of chemical weapons on August 21 in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, markets closed modestly lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 ($SPX), which had traded at 1666.06 at 3 p.m. ET, fell to close the day at 1656.78, down 0.4% from Friday’s close at 1663.5.

U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said his country is convinced Assad was behind the attack and that there was agreement with the United States and France to act. With Syria's ally Russia almost certain to exercise its Security Council veto at the United Nations, there’s virtually no chance for a U.N. resolution sanctioning military action.


Image: Stock market (© Comstock)Russia's reaction will probably stop short of a military response, but the same degree of certainty can't be applied to the reaction of Syria's other major ally, Iran. Iran's options include support for Assad ally Hamas to attack Israel or attacks on oil shipping in the Persian Gulf.


It's that latter possibility that is most on the market’s mind.


Or at least the mind of everyone not already on vacation. Only 546 million shares traded today on the New York Stock Exchange. That’s the lowest total since August 5.


Syria is the 32nd largest oil producer in the world -- just behind Ecuador and just ahead of Thailand -- at 400,000 barrels a day. Iran, traditionally the second largest producer in OPEC, has slipped the No. 6 slot at 4.2 million barrels a day in 2013.


Full disclosure: I don’t own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this post in my personal portfolio. When in 2010 I started the mutual fund I manage, Jubak Global Equity Fund, I liquidated all my individual stock holdings and put the money into the fund. The fund did not own shares of any company mentioned in this post as of the end of June. For a full list of the stocks in the fund as of the end of June see the fund’s portfolio.


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24Comments
Aug 26, 2013 8:21PM
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This country is falling apart at the seams and we are going to war which will cost us billions and the potential loss of life of our sons and daughters ! NO WAR ! Defending our nation against foreign invasions is the the right thing ! Being the World Police is the wrong thing to do !
Aug 26, 2013 9:09PM
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Andrew Dickson White--- Fiat Money Inflation in France... "when the inflationists saw how profitable war was... they engaged it everywhere. The sum total cost came back many times more than anticipated... it was the premise for the printing..."
Aug 26, 2013 9:45PM
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Wall St is made up of wimps, chickens  and, cowards  ..  little wonder Wall St traders are despised! the world  over.    We are not surprised that news over Syria made them wet their pants  Shake Wall St -- how shameful. 
Aug 26, 2013 9:11PM
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The claim of chemical warfare in Syria... can anyone tell me which B.R.I.C. nation rose up insulted and enraged over this and is preparing to go in on behalf of ALL nations? Until one does, can we assume that ALL of DC will lead the way and draw the line in the sand in PERSON. The NRA can follow. Let's keep our kids here and find them jobs that pay family-sustaining wages.
Aug 26, 2013 10:46PM
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THE SOLUTION IS SIMPLE

PULL OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST      TOTALLY
OBAMA DOES NOT CARE ABOUT OIL, AND I AGREE.
LET THEM ALL KILL EACH OTHER,,,,AFTER ALL THEY WANT US DEAD


Aug 27, 2013 12:47AM
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Ask companies like General Dynamics if they like war!  You bet your life they do!
Aug 27, 2013 1:22AM
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Graham and McCain want to use up some weapons to insure their constituents jobs.
Aug 26, 2013 11:30PM
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So the Russians are saying that the rebels used the chemicals to assure that the US would intervene. If the Russians are proven right after we intervene we'll look like a bunch of stupid war mongering Christian Crusaders, The UN Inspection Team was shot at in rebel controlled territory. If we step in this again without really knowing the truth it could get really ugly.
Aug 27, 2013 12:24AM
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Gotta use up some of those cruise missiles so we can order more.

Have to keep the defense contractors happy. After all they did spend a lot of $$ bribing congress

What's fair is fair

Aug 26, 2013 8:29PM
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MR. President,,  get out of your BASKET BALL SHORTS  AND GET INTO YOUR
BIG BOY PANTS      AND DON'T YOU SEND AMERICAN BLOOD THERE . Let them solve their own problem.  NO BLOOD FOR OIL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   DON'T LET ""SWIFTBOAT KERRY"" TAKE THE POINT ON THIS. Or maybe we should,,worked out ok for you with CLINTON AND BENGHAZI
And a few CRUISE MISSLE AIN'T GONNA CUT IT ON THIS ONE.         WAIT THAT COULD BE A CHOICE !!         Just fly a couple and flex you muscle for PUTIN,He thinks your a PUSSY
""NEVER LET A GOOD CRISIS GO TO WASTE""   R.EMANUEL   YOU CAN DO IT BARRY
ALMOST FORGOT,,Better not go after those CHEMICAL WEAPONS,,,It didn't work out well for BUSH
Aug 27, 2013 12:05AM
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When MTV and the like continually are allowed to promote whorish behavior, we become a godless Nation. When posters say everyone in another country wants us dead, we become a just plain stupid country. Instead of certain posters worrying about who's on welfare and marching on DC, how about marching about the continual exploitation of Women via things like MTV. How about marching on DC about Rappers promoting the B-Word, the N-Word, and just about any other godless words.

Watching Kerry was an flashback to the Bush days. Funny how things come full circle. We shouldn't have been the Police of the World then and we shouldn't be it now. The moral fabricate of this Nation is falling apart and once that is complete, the Nation will follow. We have far bigger worries than if the Stock Markets has jitters. Unless we get off our buts and fix things, Syria and the Stock Markets will be the least of our problems.

Aug 27, 2013 2:18AM
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These are globalist trying to keep petro dollar afloat w/puppet regime. Why would they gas after Syria and Russia invited UN inspectors? Beside risking wwlll everyone ready for that. That will mask global collapse.
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