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4 Jan, 2020 01:00

US stock market takes a dive as defense & oil shares soar after Soleimani’s killing in US strike

US stock market takes a dive as defense & oil shares soar after Soleimani’s killing in US strike

Dow Jones and S&P 500 stock indexes posted their biggest losses in a month after a US airstrike killed Iran’s Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani, tempered only by the buoyant mood of defense and oil-related shares.

Wall Street stocks went down at the news of the assassination of Soleimani, an influential general who led the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force. His death in a Thursday night attack at Baghdad International Airport also claimed the lives of nine other people, including senior Iraqi militia officials.

As markets closed on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 233.92 points or 0.8 percent, in what was its biggest single-day drop in a month. The S&P 500 did not fare much better, plummeting more than 0.7 percent to close the day at 3.234.85 as renewed fears over of a large-scale conflict potentially breaking out in the Middle East soured investor mood.

Also on rt.com No war or regime change, Trump assures Iran after praising the killing of ‘#1 terrorist’, ISIS-fighting General Soleimani

Defense and aerospace shares surged, however, with Northrop Grumman (NOC) stocks rising 5.45 percent. Lockheed Martin, the maker of the beleaguered F-35 jets, saw its stocks jump 3.63 percent, their best showing in half a year. Missile-maker Raytheon also rallied at the news, adding around 1.5 percent.

Oil and gold stocks were also jubilant. Brent crude leaped 3.5 percent to over $68 a barrel, while US crude climbed 3.1 percent to reach $63.05 a barrel.

The US attack drove up gold prices, too. They rose to the highest level in four months.

The mixed response of the markets comes after US stocks posted all-time highs on Thursday, with the Dow adding over 300 points.

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