Fear that conflict in Syria will escalate rippled through the financial markets, sinking stocks, lifting gold 2% to $1,420 an ounce, and pushing oil to $109.01 a barrel, an 18-month high. The growing possibility of US military strikes raised worries that energy trading will be disrupted in the Middle East, raising fuel costs. The sell-off was broad. All 10 S&P 500 industry sectors were in the red; only 31 of the 500 stocks rose. Utilities and other high-dividend stocks mostly escaped the selling. Syria overshadowed two positive reports: Consumer confidence rose in August, and a 20-city home price index rose 12.1% in June from a year earlier.