Global stocks, oil prices rebound as Iran anxiety eases

Joe Donald

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets and oil prices rebounded yesterday as anxiety over potential United States (US)-Iranian conflict eased. London and Frankfurt opened higher and Tokyo gained more than two per cent. Shanghai and Hong Kong also advanced.

Markets sank on Wednesday after Tehran launched missiles at bases housing Americans in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of an Iranian general.

Anxiety subsided after reports indicated no Americans were killed and US President Donald Trump said Iran “appears to be standing down”.

The lack of casualties “gave the markets more confidence that the Iranians had instigated little more than the intention to make a public show of force mainly to save face at home,” said Stephen Innes of AxiTrader in a report.

In early trading, London’s FTSE 100 gained 0.4 per cent to 7,609.67 and Frankfurt’s DAX rose 1.5 per cent to 13,520.35. France’s CAC 40 added 0.6 per cent to 6,068.31.

A currency trader gestures at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea yesterday. PHOTO: AP

On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average were up nearly 0.4 per cent.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.5 per cent while the Dow advanced 0.6 per cent.

The Nasdaq composite rose 0.7 per cent to a record.

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 powered ahead 2.3 per cent to 23,739.87 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.7 per cent to 28,561.00. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.9 per cent to 3,094.88.

Seoul’s Kospi rose 1.6 per cent to 2,186.45 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.8 per cent to 6,874.20. India’s Sensex rose 1.4 per cent to 41,409.69.

Taiwan and Southeast Asian markets also advanced while New Zealand declined.

Trump said he would add economic sanctions on Iran but the United States is “ready to embrace peace with all who seek it”.

Oil prices rebounded yesterday after first surging on news of the Iranian attack and then falling back once tensions appeared to be easing. Benchmark US crude gained 43 cents to USD60.05 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, the contract fell USD3.09 to settle at USD59.61.

It traded as high as USD65.65 following the missile attack.

Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 52 cents to USD65.96 per barrel in London. It fell USD2.83 the previous session to USD65.44. Gold had a similar whipsaw day. It climbed as high as USD1,604.20 per ounce before settling at USD1,560.10.

Also yesterday, China reported consumer prices rose 4.5 per cent last December over a year earlier, propelled by surging meat prices due to an outbreak of disease.

In currency trading, the dollar gained to JPY109.34 from Wednesday’s JPY109.08. The euro advanced to USD1.1120 from USD1.1105.