1. U.S. strikes in Syria: Crude oil futures jumped 2% overnight to their highest level in a month after the U.S. Navy launched a missile strike on Syria. Prices pared those gains early Friday, with oil trading just 0.3% higher.
The U.S. fired 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of Syrian civilians earlier in the week.
Syria is not a major oil exporter, but the U.S. military action creates additional uncertainty in the Middle East. Russia and Iran condemned the U.S. attack, while Saudi Arabia voiced its support for President Trump’s move.
The scary geopolitics sent investors fleeing to safe haven assets — gold and government bonds were also higher.
2. Jobs report: The U.S. Labor Department released its latest jobs report Friday, showing hiring slowed in March.
Employers added only 98,000 jobs, compared to 235,000 jobs added in February. Still, the unemployment rate dropped to 4.5%, the lowest in 10 years.
President Trump has promised to create 25 million jobs over 10 years.
3. Trump meets Xi: A two-day meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping continues.
The leaders of the world’s two biggest economies are due to meet for a working lunch. The talks have been overshadowed by events in Syria but investors will keep a close watch for discussions on trade.
Trump and Xi are also expected to discuss ways of tackling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. China state news agency Xinhua reported that Trump has accepted an invitation to visit China.
4. Greece back on the radar: Greece has been talking to its European lenders this week, trying to reach a compromise on economic reforms in order to unlock the next payment from its latest bailout, agreed in 2015.
Finance officials meet in Malta Friday to continue the discussions. “We’ve worked intensively and we have achieved results…but there will be no total political deal today,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs the meetings of eurozone finance ministers.
6. Coming this week:
Friday – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases monthly jobs report for March.