Prices fell on key stock markets in the United States, Europe and Asia following reports that the United States and other nations are considering military action against Syria.
In Tuesday's trading, the Dow Jones was off by more than 1 percent, stocks in France and Germany lost more than 2 percent, while Japan's Nikkei fell six-tenths of a percent.
Oil prices rose, as investors worried that possible violence in the Middle East could harm production or shipments. Benchmark U.S. crude oil future prices rose more than $3 to more than $109 a barrel.
Gold futures prices also rose, as traders sought an investment that traditionally has held its value in times of crisis. Gold prices advanced more than $27 to go above $1,420 an ounce in New York.