The surprise US missile strike against Syria pushed oil prices to a four-week high of $55.57 a barrel yesterday.
Ultimately, US stocks were little changed yesterday, but trading was choppy in New York after the missile strikes sent investors scurrying to safe havens, while weak jobs data also weighed on financial stocks.
US jobs data showed employers there added about 98,000 jobs in March, less than economists’ expectation of 180,000, and the weakest growth in 10 months. The jobs numbers hit US financial stocks most. The S&P 500 financial index was down 0.56pc, led by banks.
The news of the Syrian attack sent global stocks lower but most of the losses were pared back after US officials described the mission as a one-off.
Traditionally defensive sectors such as utilities and telecom services were higher. Gold prices hit a five-month high.