Oil surges and global stocks sink on fears Trump's Iran strike will be 'deemed a declaration of war'
- Oil spiked, global stocks fell and gold rallied after the US confirmed an air strike that killed a top Iranian military chief.
- "It's never likely to be good news for the markets when 'World War III' is trending on Twitter," says one analyst.
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A US strike on a top military leader in Iran ignited fears of spiraling military conflict, leading oil to surge about 4%.A New Year market rally was abruptly halted by the sudden risk-off sentiment. Advertisement
The airstrike killed Iran's elite Quds force commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the US confirmed on Thursday night.
"To many in the Middle East, this may be deemed a declaration of war," said Helal Miah, investment research analyst at The Share Centre."A rise in oil prices ... is just what the global economy needs to avoid at this time where growth is fragile."
Here's where markets are trading at about 9:40 a.m. in London (4:40 a.m. in New York):
- West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude each rallied at least 4% on the news, before paring those gains early London time. WTI was up about 3.4% to $63.27 a barrel, while Brent gained 3.5% to about $68.53.
- US futures underlying the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq are down more than 1% each.
- Europe's benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 is down about 0.8%. Germany's Dax slumped about 1.2%. France's CAC 40 Index fell 0.5%.
- In Asia, the Nikkei and Hang Seng fell at least 0.3%. The Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.1%.
- Gold jumped 1.4% to about $1,549.
The US move "promises to escalate tensions in the Middle East and it is unsurprising to see crude oil prices trade higher to factor in potential disruption to supply from the region," he said.
"Turbulence often sees investors reaching for the safety belt of gold exposure."Read more: Iran's Supreme Leader: 'Harsh retaliation is waiting' for the US after Trump-directed airstrike on top generalAdvertisement
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