Stocks closed out a choppy session in the black on the first trading day of September, thanks to a handful of upbeat economic reports, but ongoing worries over Syria kept a lid on gains.
The dollar rose to a six-week high against major currencies on Tuesday after stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data bolstered expectations the Federal Reserve will start scaling back stimulus this month.
Treasury market stumbled, as traders pared safe-haven stakes in bonds after U.S. President said he would ask for congressional backing for a military strike in Syria.
Gold climbed 1.4 percent on Tuesday after President Barack Obama won the backing of two top Republicans in Congress in his call for limited U.S. strikes on Syria.
U.S. oil settled higher as U.S. lawmakers voiced support for military action against Syria, raising new fears about an armed conflict that could crimp supply.
European shares closed down in choppy trade on Tuesday, while shares in mobile device maker Nokia surged 34 percent.
Japan's benchmark index led Asian stocks higher on Tuesday as dollar-yen flirted with the key 100-level while better-than-expected manufacturing data in Europe and China lifted confidence in the global economic recovery.
Brent crude oil steadied around $114 on Monday, after a week of gains, as worries over possible Middle East supply disruptions receded.
Gold edged below $1,400 an ounce on Monday as a delay in possible U.S. military action in Syria and improved economic data from China and Europe boosted the appetite for riskier assets.
The dollar rose to a one-month high against the safe-haven yen on Monday as worries about a military strike against Syria diminished, while commodity currencies edged higher.
Asian equity markets kicked off September higher after two separate readings of Chinese factory activity confirmed hopes of a recovery in the world's second-largest economy.
Stocks closed near session lows on the final trading day of August, with the Dow and S&P 500 posting their worst monthly declines since May 2012, as investors held off making large bets ahead of a long holiday weekend amid escalating worries over Syria.
The U.S. dollar reached a four-week peak against a basket of major currencies on Friday as investors sought its safe-haven status on the possibility of a U.S. military strike on Syria.
Crude prices finished lower on Friday, amid relentless speculation about whether the United States would stage a military strike against Syria.
Gold slid below $1,400 an ounce on Friday as the dollar rallied to a four-week high and investors squared positions at the end of the month and cashed in on a recent run-up ahead of a long U.S. holiday weekend.
European shares closed lower on Friday, finishing August at a loss overall, as a reduced chance of an immediate military strike on Syria weighed on energy equities via weaker oil prices.
Alec Young, S&P Capital IQ, provides perspective on how stocks will likely react to an attack on Syria. And Jack De Gan, Harbor Advisory, weighs in on General Electric's plans to spin off its consumer lending operations.
Pimco strategist Tony Crescenzi has three good reasons why yields will drop.
Christian Gattiker, head of research at Julius Baer, tells CNBC to expect September and October to be more volatile.
Asian shares were mostly higher Friday, but gains were capped by uncertainty over the stability of emerging markets and the possibility of a military strike against Syria despite indications a delay might be in the offing.
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