World markets on edge as US strikes Syria amid Xi summit

AP News
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Posted: Apr 07, 2017 5:32 AM
World markets on edge as US strikes Syria amid Xi summit

HONG KONG (AP) — Most world stock indexes fell Friday while oil prices rose after the U.S. fired missiles at Syria during President Donald Trump's first meeting with China's president, leaving investors on edge.

KEEPING SCORE: European shares retreated in early trading. France's CAC 40 shed 0.4 percent to 5,100.17 and Germany's DAX lost 0.6 percent to 12,159.15. Britain's FTSE 100 was flat at 7,305.09. U.S. benchmarks were poised to open lower. Dow futures dipped 0.1 percent to 20,593.00 and broader S&P 500 futures fell 0.2 percent to 2,350.20.

AIRSTRIKES: 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 "vital national security interest" of the United States.

ENERGY: 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 percent, to settle at $51.70 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 77 cents to $55.66 a barrel in London.

MARKET VIEW: "All 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," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a commentary.

PRECIOUS METAL: 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 percent to, $1,266.20 an ounce. Silver made a similar leap.

U.S.-CHINA SUMMIT: The strikes came as Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping opened a high-stakes summit in Florida. Tensions over trade and North Korea's nuclear ambitions are among big topics on the agenda for the first meeting between the leaders of the world'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.

SAMSUNG'S QUARTER: The South Korean electronics giant posted a 48 percent jump in profits for the first three months of the year, beating analyst forecasts. Samsung released an upbeat earnings preview despite unprecedented crises including criminal charges for top executives linked to a political scandal and a fire-prone smartphone. Full numbers are due later in the month.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.4 percent to end at 18,664.63 after dipping earlier in the day. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.2 percent to 3,286.62. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.1 percent to 2,151.73. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was almost flat at 24,267.30 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 recouped earlier losses to end 0.1 percent higher at 5,862.50. Southeast Asian indexes were mixed.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.66 yen from 110.80 yen. The euro rose to $1.0631 from $1.0645.