(NEW YORK) — Fears over a potential military strike against Syria rippled through the markets Tuesday, sending stocks sharply lower for the second straight day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 170 points at 14,776. The blue chips index is now at a two-month low and over the last month it’s dropped close to five percent.
Stocks bounced in earlier trading when the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index for August increased slightly. It had been expected to fall from its 80.3 level in July.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also posted major declines. The S&P fell more than one and a half percent and the NASDAQ closed off over two percent.
The impact wasn’t just in stocks Tuesday. Oil surged almost $3 a barrel. Gold rose sharply, too. It’s now up 20 percent since the middle of June.
Investors are worried that an attack on Syria could make the already-unstable Middle East even more unstable, and it could also potentially disrupt the flow of oil from the region. Additionally, military action could rekindle terrorism fears here at home and around the world.
None of this news is helping to settle the nerves of a jittery market — one that’s already worried that next month the Federal Reserve will pull back on its massive bond-buying stimulus program and a market worried that housing recovery could stall now that mortgage rates are rising.
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