1) Global stocks markets are mostly up as both the timing and extent of an attack on Syria remains uncertain, despite weaker U.S. futures.
Traders seem to believe that if the Syrian strike is a largely symbolic gesture (ship-launched missiles) with limited damage — one that will not lead to regime change — than there will be little additional downside to stocks.
Still, if there is a more aggressive attack, or an immediate aggressive response from Iran, than gold, crude oil, and interest rates will certainly advance, and stocks will weaken.
The timing is a major source of speculation this morning. There was expectations that an attack would occur before this weekend. However, a demand by the U.N. Secretary General that the U.S. wait for the report of weapons inspectors has thrown that timetable into doubt. The Conservative British government, which is still burned by its involvement in Iraq, is also getting blow back from the opposition.
How long will the report from the weapons inspectors take? It's not just them leaving Syria, it's waiting for the report. No one knows how long a report could take, but there are guesses it could be a week away. And it's not clear if they will even name who is responsible, even if they find evidence of a chemical attack.That's not good.
How long can the U.S. afford to wait? Now there are reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel have discussed the Syrian crisis by phone, and the Kremlin says they are both backing diplomatic efforts.
Then there's another stall date: the G20 is meeting in St. Petersburg in a week—September 5th and 6th. Most think it's unlikely that an attack will happen during the meeting.
That now pushes the timetable into NEXT weekend. Yikes!