US: Stock futures plunge then recover after U.S. strikes Syria, oil rises
HONG KONG - Investors were on edge Friday as world stock indexes came under pressure and oil prices rose after the U.S. fired missiles at Syria during President Donald Trumpâ€™s first meeting with Chinaâ€™s president.
U.S. stock futures fell sharply initially as Dow futures dropped more than 100 points immediately after news of the military strikes but had recovered much of those losses in the morning. At 8 a.m. ET, Dow and S&P 500 futures were flat.
U.S. warships fired about 60 cruise missiles at a Syrian government-controlled air base in retaliation for a horrific chemical attack against civilians. The attack was a reversal for Trump, who had previously warned against involvement in the Syrian war but now says it is in the â€śvital national security interestâ€ť of the United States.
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Oil prices jumped on concerns the airstrikes would reignite Middle East turmoil. U.S. benchmark crude added 83 cents to a one-month high of $52.53 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 55 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at $51.70 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 77 cents to $55.66 a barrel in London.
â€śAll of this adds up to potential turmoil in the world and also to potential supply disruptions to crude which have reacted as expected and moved materially higher,â€ť Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a commentary.
Gold, considered a haven from uncertainty, also jumped as investors sought safety following the U.S. military action. The price of gold rose $12.80, or 1% to, $1,266.20 an ounce. Silver made a similar leap.
The strikes came as Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping opened a high-stakes summit in Florida. Tensions over trade and North Koreaâ€™s nuclear ambitions are among big topics on the agenda for the first meeting between the leaders of the worldâ€™s two biggest economies. Trump appeared lighthearted as he greeted Xi ahead of a dinner on Thursday evening before the two were to tackle specifics the next day.
European shares retreated in early trading but were off their earlier lows. Franceâ€™s CAC 40 was down 0.1% and Germanyâ€™s DAX lost 0.4%. Britainâ€™s FTSE 100 was able to turn positive and was up 0,2%.
Asian markets were mixed. Japanâ€™s benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.4% to end at 18,664.63 after dipping earlier in the day. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.2% to 3,286.62. South Koreaâ€™s Kospi lost 0.1% to 2,151.73. Hong Kongâ€™s Hang Seng was almost flat at 24,267.30 and Australiaâ€™s S&P/ASX 200 recouped earlier losses to end 0.1% higher at 5,862.50.
The dollar fell to 110.66 yen from 110.80 yen. The euro rose to $1.0631 from $1.0645.