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Global equity/currency market update: Stocks plummet, oil surges on reports of Middle East attacks

19 Apr 2024 9:01 am
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Mumbai, 19 Apr (Commoditiescontrol): Asian shares and bond yields sank on Friday while safe-haven currencies, gold and crude oil jumped after reports of a sharp escalation in Middle East hostilities.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares dived 2.3% and U.S. stock futures pointed 1.5% lower following media reports Israeli missiles had hit a site in Iran.

U.S. long-term Treasury yields dropped as much as 13.5 basis points to 4.512%. The safe-haven yen rallied about 0.4% against the dollar and 0.7% versus the euro while the Swiss franc rallied about 0.9% versus the dollar. Gold jumped 1.3% to $2,409.45, heading back toward last week's all-time high at $2,431.29.

Brent futures surged more than 3% on concerns Middle East supply could be disrupted.

ABC News cited a U.S. official in reporting Israeli missiles had hit a site in Iran, while Iran's Fars news agency said explosions were heard at an airport in the city of Isafahan.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had vowed retaliation earlier this week after Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles in an unprecedented direct attack on Israel over the weekend.

That, in turn, was in response to a suspected Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Syria that killed senior Iranian military commanders.

Equity markets were already heading lower before the Middle East headlines, as more robust U.S. economic data spurred additional Federal Reserve officials to signal no rush to lower interest rates.

Chip-sector stocks were hit particularly hard by both the outlook for protracted tight monetary policy and investor disappointment at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co's decision to leave capital spending plans unchanged.

(By Commoditiescontrol Bureau: 09820130172)

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