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Oil prices surge, U.S.stock futures plunge on Iran's missile strike in Iraq

NEW YORK
2020-01-08 14:22

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NEW YORK, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Crude oil prices soared and U.S. stock futures plunged late Tuesday following reports that Iran fired multiple missiles at U.S. airbases in Iraq, triggering fears of a more serious escalation in the Middle East.

"At approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) (2230 GMT) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq," the Pentagon said in a statement on Tuesday.

The White House said earlier Tuesday that it had noticed the reports of attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq, saying that President Donald Trump is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.

Oil prices rose sharply following the news, with the U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures jumping more than 4 percent, up from its settlement of 62.70 U.S. dollars a barrel Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The international benchmark Brent crude also gained more than 4 percent to a session high of 71.75 dollars per barrel before rebounding a bit as trading continued. Brent crude for March delivery settled at 68.27 dollars a barrel Tuesday on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Elsewhere, U.S. stock futures also plunged Tuesday night over news about Iran's missile strike.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped about 348 points and implied a loss of more than 370 points at Wednesday's open. The S&P 500 futures dipped 42.5 points and the Nasdaq futures decreased 136.25 points.

U.S. stocks ended lower on Tuesday as Wall Street continued to weigh the geopolitical risks after a U.S. airstrike killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 119.70 points, or 0.42 percent, to 28,583.68. The S&P 500 decreased 9.10 points, or 0.28 percent, to 3,237.18. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 2.88 points, or 0.03 percent, to 9,068.58.

A U.S. drone struck a convoy at Baghdad International Airport last Friday, killing Soleimani, sparking outrage and revenge threats from Tehran.

Oil prices spiked more than 3 percent on Friday as traders weighed possible forms of Iranian retaliation, which could disrupt crude flows in the Middle East.

Both oil prices and U.S. equities markets have been quite volatile these days as traders grappled with fears of a wider conflict between Washington and Tehran.
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