Stocks sank Monday as the Middle East conflict added a dose of geopolitical risk to the interest rate and inflation concerns already facing markets.
Islamist militant group Hamas launched a large-scale attack on Israel on Saturday, prompting a declaration of war in response. That has rattled markets, as investors worry that another full-blown conflict could join the war already being waged by Russia and Ukraine.
“Geopolitical risk doesn’t tend to linger long in markets, but there are many second-order impacts that could come through in the weeks, months, and years ahead from this weekend’s developments,” Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid said.
Oil prices jumped as much as 5% after the attack amid speculation that key crude-producing countries in the region could be pulled into the fray. WTI crude oil futures (CL=F) and Brent crude futures (BZ=F) were trading over 3% higher at last check as fighting enters its third day. Meanwhile, safe-havens gold (GC=F) and government bonds were in demand.
A sustained rally in oil could add to the inflationary pressures that already have investors bracing for another interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.
Investors are increasingly facing up to the reality that borrowing costs are likely to stay higher for longer, with the surprisingly hot September jobs report on Friday just the latest data to make the case for more restrictive policy.
The recent rise in bond yields to 16-year highs shook investors who were already worried about the impact on the economy of further rate hikes and put pressure on stocks.
But it could give the Fed a reason to pause hiking, given some of its officials believe the bond rout is likely to tighten credit considerably. Trading in US Treasuries is closed on Monday for the US holiday.
The next crucial economic indicator up is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for September, due on Thursday and expected to show a small drop in headline inflation. The release this week of minutes from the Fed’s last meeting should also provide more insight into policymakers’ thinking about the path of interest rates.
Stocks open lower amid Middle East conflict
Stocks were in the red just after the opening bell on Monday after a surprise attack on Israel by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas sparked fears of broader geopolitical risk to markets.
Chevron, Disney, and Bristol Myers Squibb: Stocks trending in premarket trading
Here are some of the stocks leading Yahoo Finance’s trending tickers page in premarket trading on Monday:
Chevron Corporation (CVX): Shares in Chevron were up 3% as oil stocks rallied amid new turmoil in the Middle East. The group has also been instructed by Israel’s energy ministry to shut down the Tamar natural gas field off the country’s northern coast.
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC): Shares were up 3% premarket on Monday. Defense stocks have started to see a rise amid the burgeoning conflict in the Middle East.
Stock futures slide, oil surges
US stocks were poised to open in the red on Monday as investors weighed the potential impact of the surprise Palestinian attack on Israel launched at the weekend.
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