Aug. 28 - Escalating tensions in Syria have investors on edge -watching carefully- and adjusting their strategies. Bobbi Rebell reports.
The escalating conflict in Syria, and the potential involvement of the West, is triggering fear and volatility in the financial markets and investment strategies going forward. Hedge Fund manager Uri Landesman of Platinum Partners is betting against the stock market - and watching for broader implications as well. SOUNDBITE: URI LANDESMAN, PRESIDENT, PLATINUM PARTNERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If Syria kind of hangs out there for a while, and of course if, God forbid, Iran got involved there, obviously the energy stocks would be, you know, especially the oil related part of the energy sector, would respond very aggressively to that, while cyclicals and financials would probably really take a beating because it would be perceived that this was bad for global financial markets and for global economies if energy prices got too expensive." Energy prices have already been spiking- a concern for Guinness Asset Management's Will Riley: SOUNDBITE: WILL RILEY, ENERGY FUND CO-MANAGER, GUINESS ASSET MANAGEMENT (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The risk at the moment is real. I think on the one hand Syria is a relatively small oil producer and in fact oil in Syria has been shut in for the last two years. However, the risk exists that any military action in Syria may spill over to its Middle Eastern neighbors. In particular, there is concern that the action may spill over into Saudi and Saudi is one of the largest producers in the world." And then there is the Fed- how could the situation in the Middle East impact their plans for tapering back on their bond buying program. Pension Partners' Michael Gayed: SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL GAYED, CHEIF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, PENSION PARTNERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "War is the ultimate excuse not to taper. To not pull back on stimulus, and if what is happening in Syria causes more of a spasm in markets, the wealth effect becomes the poverty effect. The Fed will likely not step away that quickly in September on this taper talk. That means you go back into a potentially a negative real rate environment that means potentially you go back into gold, silver and everything that has been hurting because of fear that the Fed would step away now." And in fact those safe havens are already on the rise.