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Stocks close lower after Trump warns of possible Syria strike

CNBC logo CNBC 4/11/2018 Fred Imbert and Alexandra Gibbs
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Stocks ended lower Wednesday after President Donald Trump taunted Russia on Twitter to get ready for a possible missile strike on Syria.

The Dow lost 218 points, the S&P 500 shed 0.55 percent, and the Nasdaq fell 0.35 percent.

Bank stocks helped lead the decline, with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley both falling. J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo also traded lower.

Trump said in a tweet: "Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"

Safe havens like gold and U.S. Treasurys rose on the news. Crude oil prices also spiked higher.

"It's not that this wasn't expected. Trump had already hinted at a response," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. "I think the market was caught offguard by the tone of the response."

The president's threat comes after Russia's ambassador to Lebanon told local media that Russia would shoot down American missiles headed Syria's way. This follows an alleged chemical weapons attack by President Bashar Assad that killed dozens in a rebel-held area over the weekend.

The moves Wednesday came after Wall Street saw strong gains during Tuesday's session, with the Dow rallying more than 400 points to close up at 24,408.

Market sentiment was upbeat Tuesday after Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed plans to further open up his country's economy, suggesting measures that included lowering import tariffs on products including autos.

Talk of a potential trade war continues to rattle sentiment, while Facebook kept Wall Street preoccupied Tuesday as the tech giant's CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees.

He said that Facebook didn't notify the Federal Trade Commission about the data leak surrounding Cambridge Analytica, as they considered it a closed case years ago. Zuckerberg is due to speak to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday morning.

In data, the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's March meeting are due to be released at 2 p.m. ET. No speeches by the Federal Reserve are scheduled for Wednesday.

CNBC's Sara Salinas contributed to this report.

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