Oil prices held near one-month highs on Friday after the United States attacked a Syrian air base. European shares fell as major benchmarks tracked a global retreat by risky assets. Ciara Lee reports.
A spike for oil, a wavering dollar and markets opening low. News of the U.S. launching cruise missiles against Syria's military prompted strong demand for safe investments across global markets. The biggest gains came in gold and the Japanese yen, where investors like to park their cash in uncertain times. Another is German government bonds - seen as one of the safest assets in the world. Oil prices reached a one month high in morning trade after knee-jerk concerns over supply if tensions in the Middle East escalate. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISOR AT CEBR, VICKY PRYCE, SAYING: "If there is a full scale war at some point involving loads of other countries in addition to what we have seen so far, that obviously would be a serious disruption. But I think we are reading too much into it - or at least I hope the markets initially is reading too much into what happened yesterday." But it's not just uncertainty in the Middle East making investors uneasy. (SOUNDBITE) (GERMAN) HEAD OF SPECIALIST FLOOR TRADING AT ODDO SEYDLER BANK, OLIVER ROTH, SAYING: "The Dax and financial investors worldwide are disappointed by Donald Trump. He promised a lot during the election campaign, and above all people are waiting for infrastructure measures and tax cuts. Neither of those things seem to be on the agenda at the moment - it's not very reassuring for investors." Focus is now shifting to the conclusion of Trump's meeting with Chinese Premiere Xi Jinping. The two leaders are expected to get into more detailed discussions about trade and foreign policy issues.