Syria strikes the markets

As momentum builds towards a US strike against Bashar Hafez al-Assad, there's plenty of reason for markets with stretched valuations to focus on broader negatives.

Markets, already nervous about the forthcoming QE3 taper, reacted strongly last night to the growing momentum towards a military strike against Syria. Wall Street stocks fell hard, gold went up $US23, making it $US200 since late June, and crude oil futures spiked 3 per cent.

Behind the good performance of stocks over the past year is the fact that US Fed stimulus plus gradual economic stabilisation and relative geopolitical calm have allowed valuations to expand dramatically.

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