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Investors rotated into haven assets, while US stock-index futures recovered from steep losses, as investors digested an American missile strike against Syria that solidified expectations that President Trump will take a different approach than his predecessor.
S&P 500 futures had faced a fall of as much as 0.77 per cent overnight as investors reacted to the news of the US military action. But as trading progressed in Europe and got underway in New York, the declines were trimmed sharply to just 0.05 per cent.
The jitters were still visible across many traditional defensive assets, however. Gold was up by $12.80, or 1 per cent, to $1,264 a troy ounce. Meanwhile, the yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury note, which moves in the opposite direction of the price, fell by 2.32 basis points to 2.318 per cent.
Crude oil prices also reacted to the jolt of geopolitical uncertainty – something that was common years ago, but has been seen less frequently more recently. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, jumped 1.1 per cent to $52.26 a barrel, while global marker Brent gained 0.89 per cent to $55.37 a barrel.
Money managers were also bracing for the monthly jobs report that is due for release at 8:30am in Washington. Wall Street expects the economy to have added 180,000 jobs last month. However, after a strong reading on private sector payrolls from ADP, some strategists have said the so-called “whisper number” is likely higher.
The pace of wage growth is also expected to garner significant attention, given that inflation has become a greater focus for Federal Reserve officials as they decide how quickly to tighten monetary policy.