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April 11, 2018, 12:34 p.m. EDT

European stocks close in the red as Syria anxiety ‘takes center stage’

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By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch


AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on Sunday shows smoke billowing as Syrian Army soldiers advance on the eastern outskirts of Douma.

European stocks finished lower Wednesday, as analysts fretted that U.S. military action against Syria could spook markets.

A pan-European equity benchmark continued to show a small weekly gain, helped by worries receding over the ongoing trade skirmish between China and the U.S., the world’s two largest economies.

How markets are moving

The Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.31% shed 0.6% to end at 376.18, trimming its week-to-date rise to 0.4%.

Germany’s DAX 30 /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +0.20% dropped 0.8% to close at 12,293.97, while France’s CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.20% gave up 0.6% to finish at 5,277.94. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.38% fell 0.1% to end at 7,257.14.

The euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD +0.0797% traded at $1.2384, up from $1.2356 late Tuesday in New York.

What’s driving markets

In a fresh geopolitical concern for investors, the possibility of a U.S. strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appeared to be growing, with President Donald Trump and his administration working to rally international support. Talk of such a strike has been simmering since a suspected chemical-weapons attack killed civilians in Damascus over the weekend. It could draw the U.S. into a conflict with Russia, which backs the Assad regime.

Trump on Wednesday signaled that an attack using missiles was not far off. “Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and smart!” he said in a tweet .

Meanwhile, fears about a potential global trade war have persisted for weeks. While the Trump administration exempted most countries from recent U.S. tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, its targeting of Chinese goods has fanned fears.

Yet concerns appear to be ebbing this week, thanks to a less-aggressive stance on trade taken by Chinese President Xi Jinping in a key speech Tuesday.

Read: How China’s Xi, without blinking on trade, got the stock market to cheer

And see: Here’s how a ‘trade skirmish’ could become a global ‘trade war’

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/zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed
XX : STOXX
364.76
+1.12 +0.31%
Volume: 0.00
July 10, 2020 12:16p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed
DAX
DX : Xetra Indices
12,514.98
+25.52 +0.20%
Volume: 21,447
July 10, 2020 12:16p
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/zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed
FR : France: Euronext Paris
4,931.03
+10.02 +0.20%
Volume: 24,650
July 10, 2020 12:16p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed
UK : FTSE UK
6,072.69
+23.07 +0.38%
Volume: 199,257
July 10, 2020 11:16a
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/zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
1.1295
+0.0009 +0.0797%
Volume: 0.0000
July 10, 2020 6:31a
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