Stocks edge up as Syria fears recede

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Investors around the world are pushing stocks higher Thursday as the prospect of imminent U.S.-led military action against Syria appears to be receding.

U.S. stock futures were modestly higher, while oil and gold prices were unwinding recent gains booked on fears of an escalation in the Syrian conflict.

Investors were feeling less panicked as the U.S. and its allies continued to talk about how to respond after concluding that Syria used chemical weapons against its own people.

There is a "reduced threat of imminent military intervention in Syria as discussions between world leaders and the UN security council continue and action [has been] delayed, thus boosting risk appetite," said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets in London.

U.S. stocks managed a modest rebound Wednesday, after posting a sharp drop Tuesday in reaction to strong talk of a military strike.

Related: Why Russia, Iran and China are standing by Syria

On the economic front, jobless claims edged lower last week to 331,000, just slightly above what analysts were expecting.

The nation's second-quarter gross domestic product -- the broadest measure of economic growth -- rose to 2.5%, according to a revised estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That's up from a previous estimate of 1.7% and better than what analysts were expecting.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

European markets were all higher in afternoon trading, with London leading the way. The benchmark FTSE 100 index got a boost as Vodafone (VOD) shares rallied after the mobile phone company confirmed it was in talks to sell its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to joint-venture partner Verizon Communications (VZ).

Asian markets ended mostly positive, as investors shrugged off their worries about Syria. Japan's Nikkei jumped up by nearly 1%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rallied by 0.8%. The Shanghai Composite dipped 0.2%.

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