- Syrian crisis spooks markets
- German business confidence grows
- UK services sector expands
FTSE 100: -0.62%
CAC 40: -1.42%
FTSE MIB: -1.63%
IBEX 35: -1.77%
Stoxx 600: -1.18%
Fears over potential US involvement in the Syrian crisis rattled markets on Tuesday, pushing European stocks lower.
Obama spoke with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Monday about possible international responses to the reported use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against civilians near Damascus on Wednesday.
The White House said the two leaders expressed their grave concern about the incident that claimed the lives of hundreds of men, women and children.
Obama administration officials said they would want to win international support before taking action.
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday said Obama would hold Syria's government under the Assad regime accountable for the attack.
The violent situation in Syria, ongoing since in 2010, has caused growing concern outside of the Middle East, particularly in the West.
The US has so far avoided military intervention to remove Assad due to divided views between global leaders on how to handle the situation in Syria.
Russia is against international intervention to remove Assad, for instance.
"Whatever action the US takes, it has to play this carefully as it risks triggering a flare up of the unrest in the Middle East and also risks hurting relations with Russia," said Ishaq Siddiqi, Market Strategist at ETX Capital.
"Equity markets for that reason are likely to display hesitancy, especially as the tapering narrative underpins much of the price-action in that asset. Oil prices have crept up on geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, while safe haven bonds in Europe - UK gilts and German bunds - are in favour on the risk-averse tone seen in the market this morning."
German business sentiment improves
German business sentiment increased in August as Europe's largest economy showed solid momentum, according to a report on Tuesday. The Ifo indexes, based on a survey of 7,000 German executives, climbed to 107.5 from 106.2 in July. It was slightly higher than the 107 reading expected by economists.
Separately, the Confederation of British Industry showed Britain's services sector grew at the fastest rate in business volumes since 2007 in the last quarter.
In the US, the S&P/Case-Shiller index of house prices in 20 cities is anticipated to jump 12.1% in June compared to the prior year when unveiled at 9:00 in New York.
Antofagasta, PSA Peugeot Citroen
Antofagasta retreated after the miner reported a drop in first half profits due to falling copper prices.
PSA Peugeot Citroen advanced after UBS raised its recommendation on the shares
to 'buy' from 'neutral'.
Aker Solutions declined after second-quarter earnings fell short of analysts' estimates.
Petrofac's shares surged after the oilfield services company said it remains on track to deliver growth for the full year.
ThyssenKrupp AG plunged after Nomura downgraded the steelmaker to 'neutral' from 'buy'.
Brent crude futures rise
Brent crude futures were up $1.028 to $111.880 per barrel on the ICE.
The euro/dollar declined 0.15% to the 1.3348 dollar