Investors are on edge. Tough talk about a possible military strike in Syria has fueled uncertainty, but the stock market has proven several times that it can rise when the U.S. military is in action.
Stocks rose at least 10 percent in the three months following each of the last three U.S. military engagements, according to Russell Investments. After airstrikes began in Iraq on March 20, 2003, for example, the Russell 3000 index jumped 16.3 percent. The index includes both large and small stocks and represents about 90 percent of the total U.S. stock market.
Part of the climb is due to relief: The uncertainty leading up to the military conflict pushes investors to worry about the worst-case scenario, which may not occur. "The old maxim is that markets hate uncertainty," says Stephen Wood, chief market strategist at Russell Investments. And war is a particularly uncertain time.
Syria isn't a major oil producer, but it is close to Iraq and other countries that are, and investors worry a war could threaten energy supplies. President Barack Obama has asked Congress to approve a limited military strike in response to allegations that Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons. President Obama has urged Congress to hold a prompt vote once it returns to work next week.Associated Press