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Tuesday Morning Market Roundup: Shift on Syria Encourages Markets

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The stock market rose sharply Tuesday after markets perceived the threat of an immediate U.S. attack on Syria became less likely.

President Barack Obama is seeking to convince lawmakers about the need to respond to last month’s alleged sarin gas attack outside Damascus, and has requested congressional authorization for limited military strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.

The U.S. last week appeared ready to strike Syria in response to the attack. That rattled the stock market and pushed up the price of oil to its highest level in more than two years. Government bonds also rallied as investors sought out the safest securities.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 102 points, or 0.70 percent, to 14,912. The Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 17 points, or 1 percent, to 1,650. The Nasdaq composite gained 43, or 1.3 percent, to 3,633.

In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.84 percent from 2.79 percent Friday.

In commodities trading, the price of oil rose 61 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $108.25. The price of gold was up $4.20, or 0.3 percent, $1,400.30.

Oil:

Tuesday Morning Market Roundup: Shift on Syria Encourages Markets

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Oil prices were down slightly but still above $107 a barrel Tuesday as Obama’s struggle to win support for U.S. military intervention in Syria diminished expectations of an imminent attack.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for October delivery was down 35 cents to $107.30 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.15 to close at $107.65 on Friday and Nymex floor trading was closed Monday because of Labor Day.

While Syria is not a major oil producer, it straddles a region that is. The possibility of a wider conflict, one that could interrupt production and shipping routes in the region, has pushed oil prices higher in recent days. Conversely, prices have slid as the prospect of a U.S. attack diminished.

Additionally, a missile test carried out Tuesday by Israel and the U.S. in the Mediterranean Sea and on an air force base in central Israel pushed oil prices higher when news of the event was first reported by state-owned Russian media.

Brent, the benchmark for international crudes, was up $1 to $115.01 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Market’s most active:

Company Ticker Last Change Pct Change
NOKIA CORP NOK 5.27 1.37 35.13%
MICROSOFT CP MSFT 31.51 1.89 5.66%
SPDR S&P 500 ETF SPY 165.30 1.65 1.01%
ALCATEL-LUCENT ALU 2.88 0.30 11.63%
BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION BAC 14.37 0.25 1.74%
ISHARES MSCI EMERGING MARKETS ET EEM 38.54 0.52 1.37%
FACEBOOK CL A FB 41.98 0.68 1.65%
VITAMIN BLUE COM VTMB 0.01 0.00 116.22%
VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC VZ 45.75 1.63 3.44%
VODAFONE GROUP PLC VOD 31.74 0.62 1.90%

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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