Global Stocks, Oil Prices Rebound as Iran Anxiety Eases

A currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Global stock markets and oil prices rebounded Thursday as anxiety over potential U.S.-Iranian conflict eased.

London and Frankfurt opened higher and Tokyo gained more than 2%. Shanghai and Hong Kong also advanced.

Markets sank 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 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% to 7,609.67 and Frankfurt’s DAX rose 1.5% to 13,520.35. France’s CAC 40 added 0.6% to 6,068.31.

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

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.5% while the Dow advanced 0.6%. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.7% to a record.

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

Seoul’s Kospi rose 1.6% to 2,186.45 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.8% to 6,874.20. India’s Sensex rose 1.4% 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 Thursday after first surging on news of the Iranian attack and then falling back once tensions appeared to be easing.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 43 cents to $60.05 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, the contract fell $3.09 to settle at $59.61. It traded as high as $65.65 following the missile attack.

Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 52 cents to $65.96 per barrel in London. It fell $2.83 the previous session to $65.44.

Gold had a similar whipsaw day. It climbed as high as $1,604.20 per ounce before settling at $1,560.10.

Also Thursday, China reported consumer prices rose 4.5% in December over a year earlier, propelled by surging meat prices due to an outbreak of disease.

In currency trading, the dollar gained to 109.34 yen from Wednesday’s 109.08 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1120 from $1.1105.

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