By Laila Kearney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equity markets slid on Wednesday as U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia that missiles "will be coming" in Syria after a suspected chemical attack, and oil hit its highest since 2014 after Saudi Arabia said it intercepted an air strike over Riyadh.
The fallout from new U.S. sanctions on Moscow have rattled investors and fears of military action were stoked after one of Russia's ambassadors reiterated it would shoot down any U.S. missiles fired at Syria.
"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!'," he wrote in the post. "You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 129.86 points, or 0.53 percent, to 24,278.14, the S&P 500 lost 5.99 points, or 0.23 percent, to 2,650.88 and the Nasdaq Composite added 8.66 points, or 0.12 percent, to 7,102.96.
Facebook Inc shares were up 1.5 percent as Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg gave a second day of testimony before the U.S. Congress. Netflix shares climbed more than 3 percent following a Goldman Sachs target price increase $60 above Wall Street's median price target of $300.The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.60 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.16 percent.
"It feels like there are expectations that the U.S. is going to take some action against Syria," said Phil Blancato, chief executive of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management in New York. "The market, I don't believe, has priced one yet."
Meanwhile, oil prices hit their highest in more than three years after Trump's latest comments despite bearish inventory numbers. [nL3N1RO18E]
U.S. crude rose 2 percent to $66.82 per barrel and Brent was last at $72.07, up 1.45 percent on the day.
Oil prices began to climb on Trump's warning over Syria, then rallied further on a report that Saudi Arabia's air defence forces intercepted a missile over Riyadh, the capital.
The dollar fell against the yen, hitting a two-week low over lingering worries of a trade war with China and domestic scandals swirling around Trump.
The dollar index fell 0.08 percent, with the euro up 0.12 percent to $1.2369. [GVD]
The Japanese yen strengthened 0.33 percent versus the greenback at 106.85 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.4183, up 0.08 percent on the day.
The Russian rouble slumped as much as 2.5 percent against the dollar and even more versus the euro.
Spot gold added 1.2 percent to $1,355.21 an ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 1.00 percent to $1,359.30 an ounce as safe-haven demand sharpened.
Palladium, which has also benefited from expectations that sanctions on Russia could hurt supply, rose further after climbing nearly 6 percent in the past two days.
"There's a lot of panic and uncertainty. Buyers are scrambling to try to replace where they can, to plug the gap left by not having Russian-origin metal," said Robin Bhar, head of metals research at Societe Generale in London.
U.S. Treasury yields edged higher after slipping on U.S. consumer price data that reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at a gradual pace.
Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 2/32 in price to yield 2.7899 percent, from 2.797 percent late on Tuesday.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)