Tensions rise in Middle East
Oil rises after Iranian general killed in US air strike
Donald Trump ordered air strike
Oil prices were up nearly $3 after the United States killed Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force and architect of Iran’s spreading military influence in the Middle East.
The air strike on Friday at Baghdad airport, authorised by President Trump, also claimed the life of Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an adviser to Soleimani.
The US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, said the action was meant to prevent further attacks that Soleimani was plotting.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed harsh revenge.
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery and the global benchmark Brent crude for March delivery each surged immediately following the news. Brent crude oil futures on ICE were 2.88% higher to $68.23.
This takes prices near crude’s highest since mid-September, following a missile attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.
At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.81% at 28,634.88, while the S&P 500 was 0.71% softer at 3,234.85 and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 0.79% weaker at 9,020.77.
After initially falling on the news to a day’s low of 7551 the FTSE 100 closed up 18.10 points (0.24%) at 7622.40.