Stocks rise in latest volatile session, Trump tweets Syria attack may not be imminent

U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, in the latest example of both heavy day-to-day volatility and market movements being directed by the latest headlines and tweets coming from the White House.

Geopolitical issues remained at the forefront for Wall Street, although this potential headwind appeared to fade after President Donald Trump tweeted that a military strike on the Middle Eastern country may not be imminent. Escalating tensions over Syria were seen as a major contributor to weakness in Wednesdays session.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA, +1.24%
rose 1.3%, or 303 points, to 24,492. The S&P 500
SPX, +0.86%
was up 24 points, or 0.9%, to 2,667. The Nasdaq Composite Index
COMP, +1.02%
was up 74 points, or 1.1%, to 7,144.

The days gains were broad, with 27 of the 30 Dow components gaining, along with seven of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors. Financials were particular outperformers, up 1.8%; the group was in focus ahead of major banks reporting results in the coming sessions.

Dont miss: Small stocks, seen safe from global uncertainty, are among markets leaders

Whats driving markets?

Geopolitical concerns continued to move markets after Trump on Wednesday signaled in a tweet that a missile attack on Syria wasnt far off, saying, Get ready, Russia. But early Thursday, a fresh tweet from Trump sounded less bellicose, as the president posted: Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!

The possibility of a Western strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Russia, has been growing since a suspected government-sanctioned chemical-weapons attack killed civilians in Damascus over the weekend.

Analysts said there is additional uncertainty around the potential for business-friendly policies following House Speaker Paul Ryans announcement Wednesday that he will step down in January.

Check out Rex Nutting on: When his country needed him, Paul Ryan didnt answer

Meanwhile, worries about a potential global trade war are persisting, as a Chinese government spokesman denied Thursday that recently announced policy changes constitute concessions to the Trump administration in the countries trade skirmish.

What are strategists saying?

On one hand, you have earnings that are expected to be strong and the S&P 500 has repeatedly tested its 200-day moving average and held above it. On the other, you have erratic policies and questions over what will happen in Syria, with trade, with the Russia investigation, said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at Newbridge Securities.

There are a lot of positive forces and a lot of negative forces in the market, and the battle between them is leading to a lot of day-to-day volatility, were trying to find a direction, each shift has nothing to do with the next, and were stuck in a range. Its a tough environment for investors.

Dont miss: Why earnings may not be the rescue stock investors are hoping for

Which stocks are in focus?

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.s stock
BBBY, -19.37%
tumbled 19% after the home-goods retailer late Wednesday guided earnings for fiscal 2018 below forecasts.

Shares in Zuora Inc.
ZUO, +46.18%
spiked 42% in their trading debut. The provider of enterprise software late Wednesday priced its initial public offering above the expected range.

See: 5 things to know about subscription-software company Zuora

Shares of BlackRock Inc.
BLK, +2.25%
gained 2.4% after the asset-managing giant reported earnings and revenue that came in ahead of forecasts.

Delta Air Lines Inc.
DAL, +2.04%
rose 2.8% after it reported first-quarter earnings and sales that topped forecasts, though it provided a downbeat outlook for the rest of the year.

Drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp.
RAD, +2.44%
spiked 2.4% after it reported adjusted results that were better than expected. It also completed a sale of stores to Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.
WBA, +0.00%

Franklin Resources Inc.
BEN, +2.40%
rose 2.7% after it increased its stock repurchase program.

What are other markets doing?

Asian stocks mostly closed lower, as Syria tensions and Wednesdays hawkish Federal Reserve minutes appeared to spur caution among investors. European stocks
SXXP, +0.70%
traded higher.

Gold futures
GCM8, -1.37%
fell 1.3% to $1,342.20 an ounce, largely to Fed minutes which hinted at faster pace of rate hikes.

Oil futures
CLK8, -0.10%
were little changed and staying near three-year highs on Syria tension, as traders wait for OPECs monthly report. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index
DXY, +0.24%
advanced for the first session in five, gaining 0.3% to 89.799.

Which economic reports are on tap?

Initial jobless claims fell in the first week of April and returned near the lowest levels since the early 1970s.

Check out: MarketWatchs Economic Calendar

At its March policy meeting, the European Central Bank warned that trade wars and a strengthening euro risked undermining the eurozones economic recovery, underlining the ECBs caution as it prepares to phase out its large monetary stimulus.

At 5 p.m. Eastern, after the markets close, Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari is due to take part in a question-and-answer session with the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota.

Related Topics U.S. Stocks Markets NY Stock Exchange NASDAQ

Quote References DJIA +300.53 +1.24% SPX +22.67 +0.86% COMP +72.15 +1.02% BBBY -4.16 -19.37% ZUO +6.47 +46.18% BLK +11.82 +2.25% DAL +1.05 +2.04% RAD +0.04 +2.44% WBA +0.00 +0.00% BEN +0.78 +2.40% SXXP +2.64 +0.70% GCM8 -18.60 -1.37% CLK8 -0.07 -0.10% DXY +0.22 +0.24% Show all references
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