US stocks suffer biggest loss since June
US stocks took another tumble Tuesday as concern over a confrontation with Syria escalated. On Tuesday the potential of a US-led strike on President Bashar al-Assad’s military forces grew as a number of other nations, including Britain, Canada, France and the Arab League joined Washington in pressuring a firm response from Assad over the alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians. According to a recent United Nations investigation, it was the rebels and not Assad’s forces that were responsible for the attack. The Russia-backed Assad regime has denied responsibility for the Sarin gas attack that killed over 1,000 civilians.
The benchmark indices incurred their heaviest losses since late-June. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell below its 100-day moving average for the first time since June 24, when the markets were reeling from Federal Reserve hawkishness following the June 18-9 FOMC policy meetings. The S&P 500 fell more than 1.5 percent to 1,630.48. Finance and technology stocks faced the steepest declines among the 10 S&P 500 industries, losing at least 2 percent. Weak technology shares also contributed to the NASDAQ Composite spiralling more than 2.1 percent to close at 2,578.52.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to its lowest level since June 25, ending the day 1.1 percent lower at 14,776.10. The benchmark gauge has declined in eight of the past ten sessions.
Escalating geopolitical uncertainty over Syria overshadowed an unexpected rise in consumer confidence, a report from the Conference Board showed. August consumer confidence jumped 0.5 points over the previous month with a reading of 81.5, beating expectations for 80.2.
The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures market expectations of near-term volatility conveyed by the S&P 500, jumped 11.87 percent Tuesday, as concerns over Syria continue to dominate investors’ outlook. Concern over Mid-East politics was also reflected in the price of oil, as Brent Crude soared more than 3.2 percent to $114.36 a barrel.
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