(Corrects paragraph 12 to say euro was down against yen, not
* Safety bid sends gold higher, bonds rally
* Wall Street indexes slip but above session lows
* Oil prices whipsaw back to gains, reversing fall
By Sinead Carew
NEW YORK, April 11 Anxious investors sought
shelter in gold, Treasuries and the yen on Tuesday after reports
that Syrian warplanes dropped barrel bombs on rebel-held areas a
day after the United States said their use could lead to further
U.S. strikes in Syria.
Also, North Korea state media warned of a nuclear attack on
the United States if provoked, as a U.S. Navy strike group moved
toward the western Pacific en route to the Korean peninsula.
U.S. stock indexes were down in afternoon trading but still
above session lows after the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
report of the bombing, which a Syrian military source denied.
The United States and other countries blamed Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad for a deadly gas attack last week and
U.S. President Donald Trump responded by firing cruise missiles
at a Syrian air base while Russian President Vladimir Putin has
stood by Moscow's ally Assad, who denies blame.
"There's some questions now in the market if Trump's going
to change his policy and work for the ouster of Assad and
there's tensions with the Russians, not to mention North Korea,"
said Paul Christopher, head global market strategist for Wells
Fargo Investment Institute in St. Louis, Missouri.
On top of political concerns investors also have last
Friday's weak U.S. payroll number weighing on them ahead of the
first-quarter GDP report next week, according to Christopher,
who says stocks have already priced in the year's economic
"Investors should get accustomed to uncertainty because of
U.S. foreign policy questions and trade questions," as well as
uncertainty over tax reform here, he said. "The market will see
good days and bad days and end the year roughly where it is."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 22.85
points, or 0.11 percent, to 20,635.17, the S&P 500 lost
6.02 points, or 0.26 percent, to 2,351.14 and the Nasdaq
Composite dropped 22.78 points, or 0.39 percent, to
U.S. Treasury yields were down for a second day as
international tensions boosted demand for low-risk assets.
However, yields lifted from earlier lows after soft results
from a $20 billion 10-year note supply, part of this week's $56
billion in coupon-bearing U.S. government bond auctions.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield was
last down 4 basis points at 2.323 percent, while the 30-year
bond yield was at 2.955 percent, 3 basis points
lower than late on Monday.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against a basket of currencies, was down 0.3 percent. The U.S.
dollar was down 1 percent against the Japanese yen while
the euro was down 0.1 percent against the yen after
hitting an almost five-month low versus Japan's currency earlier
in the day.
Gold last traded up 1.6 percent on the day at almost
$1,274.26 an ounce and hit its highest point since November 11.
It was on track for its biggest one-day rise since March 15.
Oil reversed course to end the day higher after reports that
Saudi Arabia told OPEC officials it wants to continue OPEC cuts
for an additional six months.
Global benchmark Brent settled up 0.5 percent at
$56.23 a barrel in its seventh straight day of gains. U.S. crude
settled up for the sixth day in a row with a 0.6 percent
rise to $53.40.
(Additional reporting by Richard Leong, Jessica Resnick-Ault
and Dion Rabouin in New York and Kit Rees, John Geddie, Ritvik
Carvalho and Nigel Stephenson in London; Editing by Frances
Kerry and James Dalgleish)