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Equities Fall, Iran Vows Retaliation, Safe-Haven Assets Move Higher

Thomas Hughes

U.S. Equities Markets Are Down In Early Trading

The U.S. equities markets are indicated to open lower on Monday following an escalation of tensions with Iran. Last week’s targeting of Iranian General Soleimani has sparked a wave of fear that threatens to send the major indices into a correction. Soleimani, leader of Iran’s elite forces and head of an international organization of militant Shiite groups, was killed in a targeted strike while inside Iraq. Iraq is trying to pass a resolution to oust the U.S. from its soil but there is little authority for its prime minister to do so. U.S. President Trump has threatened Iraq with sanctions for its inability to aid in the protection of U.S. forces in the country.

Safe-haven assets are in high demand in early Monday trading. The price of oil is up another 1% after spiking more than 3% last week. Gold, the ultimate safe-haven asset, is now trading at a 7-year high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and NASDAQ Composite are all trading lower by -0.55% to -0.65%.

On the economic front, the services sector PMI is expected out at 9:45 AM. The reading is expected to be positive and show a slight acceleration of activity from the previous month. Later in the week traders will be on alert for the all-important non-farm payrolls figure. In stock news, shares of Cal-Maine are down more than 11% after missing expectations for revenue and earnings.

Europe Moves Lower, Most Sectors Shed Value

The European indices are moving lower in tandem with the global market. The German DAX is the day’s leader with a loss of -1.35% at midday. The FTSE and CAC are both down about -1.0%. Autos, chemicals, and Bank stocks are among the worst-hit with losses in the range of -1.90%.

On the economic front, EU composite PMI rose 0.3 points over the last month to hit 50.9. This reading is expansionary and shows some acceleration but remains weak and below expectations. In the UK, PMI was revised up by 0.3 points to 50.0 on the back of increasing certainty of a clean Brexit. Boris Johnson’s stunning win last month has put the conservatives in a clear majority and paved the way for Brexit later this month.

Asian Markets Are Mostly Lower On Monday

Asian markets are mostly lower on Monday following the escalation of geopolitical tensions last week. The Japanese Nikkei is the hardest hit with a loss of -1.90% while others in the region fell about -1.0%. The Shanghai Composite closed with barely any movement, about -0.01%, while the Australian ASX advanced 0.03%. In Australia, the energy sector moved higher to offset weakness in other areas. In other news, Australia is experiencing the worst forest-fire season in many years and it may be a drag on growth later in the year.

This article was originally posted on FX Empire