Stocks Slip Amid Worries Over Escalating U.S.-Iran Conflict

A Kimono-clad employee of the Tokyo Stock Exchange tolls a bell during a ceremony marking the start of this year's trading in Tokyo Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell in early trading on Wall Street Monday and oil prices continued rising as investors worried that tensions between the U.S. and Iran would escalate.

A U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general last week and prompted threats of retaliation from Iran. That has rattled financial markets around the world as investors remain uncertain about how Iran will respond.

Technology companies led the losses. Qualcomm fell 1.6% and Nvidia shed 1.2%.

Banks were also among the biggest losers in the early going as bond yields slipped. Lower yields hurt their ability to charge more lucrative interest on mortgages and other loans. JPMorgan Chase fell 1.2%.

Energy companies held up well as oil prices rose over fears that any conflict in the Middle East disrupt the flow of oil from the region. Hess rose 1%.

Investors mostly shifted money into safer holdings. Utilities and real estate companies rose. Gold prices climbed 1.7% and reached a seven-year high. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.77% from 1.78% late Friday.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 0.2% as of 10:10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 114 points, or 0.4%, to 28,518. The Nasdaq fell 0.3%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks fell 0.8%.

WEEK AHEAD: The first full week of the new year could help give investors a clearer picture of the economy at the close of 2019. On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management will release its December report on the U.S. service sector, which makes up the bulk of the economy.

The most closely watched economic report this week will likely be Friday’s government jobs report for December. Solid employment figures were a key factor in driving economic growth last year.

ALL THAT GLITTERS: Gold producer Newmont rose 1% after the company said it will raise its quarterly dividend by 79%. The company and its peers continue to benefit from higher gold prices that include an 18.9% jump in 2019.

OVERSEAS: European and Asian markets fell. Germany’s DAX slumped 1.3%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 shed 1.9% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped 0.8%. Asian countries are particularly dependent on oil from the Middle East and higher prices could hurt their economies.


By AP reporter Damian J. Troise


Categories: Finance, Today’s Business News