Add Syria to the worry list on Wall Street

NEW YORK — Wall Street has another thing to worry about besides rising interest rates and when the Federal Reserve will pull back on its stimulus: the crisis in Syria.

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department in Washington D.C., Monday.

Stocks were trading slightly higher in midday trading, but headed south and finished lower after Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a forceful statement to the Syrian government, condemning them for using chemical weapons against civilians, saying the use of the banned arms was “undeniable” and insisting there must be “accountability” for those behind the act.

He also said President Obama was in “close touch” with allies and “actively consulting” on how to respond.

The stock market fell in concert with Kerry’s statement, clearly jittery about the prospect of the U.S.’S potential involvement in yet another conflict in the Mideast. “(Monday) was an incredibly slow news day, and then late-day worries regarding Syria sparked some selling,” said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer’s Investment Research.

Asked whether the Syria development was responsible for the late-day drop, David Kotok, chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors, said: “Yes. Big time. Fed tapering fears have added to recession risk; now, Syria is adding to geopolitical risk.”.

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Citing general fears of “global instability,” coupled with a market vulnerable due to low summer volumes and “underlying weakness,” investors opted to sell to pare back risk, adds Doreen Mogavero, CEO of New York Stock Exchange floor brokerage Mogavero Lee.

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