Closing Bell: U.S. Stock Markets Sink, Oil Jumps on Syria Fears

Trader Andrew O'Connor, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. Worries about a potential military strike against Syria are dragging down the U.S. stock market in early trading. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Richard Drew/AP
Stocks sank Tuesday on concern over an escalating conflict in Syria that raised the specter of a military strike against the country's military forces for a chemical weapons attack against civilians.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 170 points, or 1.1 percent, to 14,776, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost 26 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,630 and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) surrendered 79 points, or 2.2 percent, to 3,578.

Fears of potential conflict in Syria pushed the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil for October delivery higher by $3.09 to $109.01 a barrel, its highest level since February 2012.

A number of nations and groups, including Britain, France, Canada and the Arab League, joined the United States in urging a firm response to Assad's government and said the world shouldn't stand by as chemical weapons are used.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said U.S. military forces in the region are "ready to go" should President Barack Obama order action against Syria.

Another potential economic headwind for the market is the need to raise the federal government's borrowing authority soon. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said it was essential for Congress to raise the borrowing limit by mid-October or the country will face default.

In other economic news, the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 12.1 percent in June from a year earlier, nearly matching a seven-year high. But month-over-month price gains slowed in most markets, a sign that higher mortgage rates may be weighing on the housing recovery.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose to 81.5 in August, up from 80.3 the month before. Economists had expected 79, according to FactSet.

Procter & Gamble (PG) gave former CEO Bob McDonald a pay package worth $15.9 million during his final full year at the consumer-products company -- 5 percent more than in the previous year, according to a regulatory filing. McDonald's retirement was announced abruptly in May, with the company facing pressure to improve its results.

More Stocks in the News:
  • Walmart Stores (WMT) plans to begin offering health benefits to employees' domestic partners -- regardless of gender -- beginning next year. Walmart has been a laggard among large U.S. corporation in offering health and other benefits to domestic partners. The company said it was important to have a consistent policy across all 50 states.
  • Shares of J.C.Penney (JCP) ended a see-saw day day of trading down 1.4 percent to $13.17 a day after hedge fund manager William Ackman, the biggest share holder, said he had sold his entire stake after his campaign to overhaul the retailer failed.
  • Goldman Sachs (GS) shares fell 3 percent to $153.23, after it was disclosed that the investment bank lost tens of millions of dollars after a computer glitch led to a flood of erroneous options trades last week, according to a source close to the matter.
  • Shares of Tiffany & Co. (TIF) fell 1 percent to $80.82, with strong sales in China and higher prices partially making up for some disappointing numbers at home in the latest quarter.
What to Watch Wednesday:
  • At 10 a.m. Eastern time, the National Association of Realtors releases pending home sales index for July and the Labor Department releases monthly metro unemployment data.
These major companies are scheduled to report quarterly corporate earnings:
  • Express (EXPR)
  • Guess (GES)
  • Williams-Sonoma (WSM)
- Compiled from staff and wire reports.

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That one pipeline in nigeria must be down...I had no idea the oil/gas that supllies America went through syria....why not raise the price in syria? been going on for 2 years but just now became an excuse to raise oil prices.. does the entire stock market take a dive, yet oil rises?.....let me hear some more supply and demand B.S.

August 28 2013 at 8:15 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Thats what I'm talking about. It does NOT have to be that way. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against making a reasonable profit. I'm against the huge transfer of wealth going on with energy, healthcare and insurance all the while wages remain the same. If we ALL made a cool million a year, it would not matter as much.

August 28 2013 at 7:00 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Well here we go again with the OIL prices goiing up and we get stuck with the bill ,what a bunch of B S .

August 28 2013 at 6:52 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

Remember this my sheep friends. The gasoline in your tanks (here in the USA) comes from crude from America, Canada, Mexico and South America. NOT THE MIDDLE East. Don't be fooled so easy by the ones who CONTROL YOUR WALLETS. Wake up!

August 28 2013 at 6:34 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

You want your Country back you say? It starts with CONTROL OF CONGRESS. The House is where the laws of the Land START. Hold the SOB's ACCOUNTABLE for allowing crude (your crude, you know the stuff that comes out of the underground in America) to be sold to the highest bidder across the World. It should be for our use only at a reasonable price. A price NOT CONTROLLED by "what if's".....and speculation on things that has not even happened yet.

August 28 2013 at 6:29 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

You know what's bad... there's NO OIL in Syria !!! why did oil jump ???

August 28 2013 at 5:29 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

People you are to blame for the sinking jobs market. Everytime you go to walmart and buy the foreign goods you are putting people out of work. Now you think you are getting a bargain but now you have to pay the unemployment and welfare that goes along with loosing jobs. Drawing social security and medicare, thank a democrat. If you want to end these two fing programs vote republican.

August 28 2013 at 4:42 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Everytime oil prices start to drop they always seem to invent another tradgedy to raise oil back up, we can't win to loose.

August 28 2013 at 3:00 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Salil Mehta

Markets are done, and they will crash hard. We created a research note two days ago that statistically verifies that the riskiest time of the year is about October. And from now until then we will get choppy flashes similar to what we saw yesterday, August 27. There is more to come, so don't lose focus with more philosophy.

This line of statistical analysis continues on research done since August 2, when we publicly identified the top of the market for the summer.

August 28 2013 at 2:27 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Those older people in the coal mines aren't going to get better paying jobs then they had. there is no rush to hire entry level who are over 40 years old.

August 27 2013 at 11:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply