U.S futures were trading down Thursday night after the U.S. government confirmed it had carried out a missile strike on Syrian government-controlled air bases.
Dow futures had been down more than 120 points shortly after reports of the military strike, but pared those losses to trade down about 45 points at 20,560. Gold was up more than 1.22% and crude rose about 2%.
Meanwhile, Asian markets reversed their early rally by following news of the missile strikes, but by late afternoon Friday were mixed. Japan's Nikkei was up 0.46%, while the Hang Seng was down 0.57%.
Jim McCaughan, CEO of Principal Global Investors was quoted in an interview with Bloomberg TV Thursday night: "The move to safe havens is more just in case anything goes wrong. If this turns out to be pretty surgical strike against the Syrian military, I think the market will get over it and recover again."
CNN, citing U.S. officials, reported U.S. warships launched up to 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian government airbase where the warplanes that carried out the earlier chemical attacks were based.
"Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air field in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched," CNN quoted Trump as saying during short remarks to reporters at Mar-a-Lago. "It is in the vital national security of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons."
He added: "There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council. Years of previous attempts at changing Assad's behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically."
Trump is in Floriday Thursday and Friday for a meeting with with Chinese President Xi Jinpeng. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and national security adviser H.R. McMaster went to Florida with Trump.
Tillerson told reporters "We feel that the strike itself was proportional because it was targeted at the facility that delivered this most recent chemical weapons attack.
"We coordinated very carefully with our international partners in terms of communicating with them around the world. I would tell you that the response from our allies, as well as the region and the Middle East has been overwhelmingly supportive of the action we taken,"Tillerson said.
Defense stocks, including Lockheed Martin (LMT) - Get Report and Raytheon (RTN) - Get Report had been a mixed bag in after-market trading Thursday, ahead of news of the missile strikes, but they could feel a bump Friday after President Donald Trump demonstrated his first decisive act of military force as commander-in-chief.
The New York Times reported that the missiles hit Al Shayrat airfield in Syria, citing an undisclosed senior military official. The Times further reported that no Russian planes were at the airfield and that the attack did not target any Russian facilities, according to the official.
CNN quoted an unnamed U.S. defense official as saying the strike was targeted on runway, aircraft and fuel points. The missiles were launched from warships in the Eastern Mediterranean. Strikes are over "until another decision is made," the official told CNN.