Trump talks of Syria bombing falls US stock market

Wall Street stocks sagged on Wednesday, as President Donald Trump threatened military action in Syria, while the Federal Reserve offered a generally upbeat outlook despite trade war fears.

Major indices were in negative territory for most of the session after Trump announced on Twitter that missiles “will be coming” in response to an alleged chemical attack in Syria.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.9 percent at 24,189.45.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.6 percent to 2,642.19, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.4 percent to 7,069.03.

The losses followed a strong session Tuesday in which stocks rallied after a conciliatory speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping raised hopes a US-China trade war could be averted.

According to reports, Trump’s remarks on Syria “dialled up” a new round of “geopolitical angst.”

Fed officials, meanwhile, viewed a possible trade war as a “downside risk,” yet still expected the US economy to grow solidly, according to minutes of the US central bank’s meeting last month.

Large industrial companies and banks were especially weak, with Boeing shedding 2.2 percent, JPMorgan Chase 1.7 percent and DowDuPont 1.8 percent.

But petroleum-linked shares rallied as oil prices rose on Trump’s Syria statements and after Saudi Arabia intercepted ballistic missiles fired from rebel-held Yemen and shot down two drones.

ConocoPhillips and oil services companies Halliburton and Schlumberger all rose more than one percent.

Facebook gained 0.8 percent as Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg apologized and parried lawmaker queries on data security in the second day of congressional hearings into a scandal involving user data.

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