Syria conflict causes crude oil prices to rise, stocks to tumble

U.S. stocks tumbled and the price of crude oil jumped Tuesday as the Obama administration weighs its next step in the Syrian conflict. 

The benchmark stock indexes were down Tuesday and the price of October U.S. crude oil jumped about 3.8% to nearly $108.85 a barrel. 

Brent crude oil hit a five-month high as well, rising above $111 a barrel Tuesday. 

While Syria is not a large oil producer, fears are that the turmoil could spread across the Middle East as the U.S. weighs military action against Syria. Officials said Monday that chemical attacks were launched by the Syrian government against civilians.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 115.93 points, or 0.8%, falling to 14830.53 in midday trading Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 17.5 points, or 1%, falling to 1630.28. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was also down, dropping 54 points, or 1.5%, to 3603.10. 

The markets were reacting Tuesday to news that the Obama administration is weighing a military strike on Syria that could come as soon as Thursday. Obama administration officials have condemned the government's apparent use of chemical weapons against its own people. 

U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said the administration has "undeniable" evidence that the Syrian government launched chemical attacks. 

Brent Crude Oil Spot Price data by YCharts

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ricardo.lopez@latimes.com

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