Wall Street dips on Middle East tensions

Wall Street dips on Middle East tensions
Wall Street dips on Middle East tensions

Wall Street fell from a record high on Friday after a U.S. airstrike in Iraq ratcheted up tensions in the Middle East.

While a bigger-than-expected contraction in the U.S. manufacturing sector again fanned fears of slowing economic growth.

Demand for safe-haven assets soared as Iran vowed revenge for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, head of its elite Quds Force, in an airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump.

The banks sub-sector dropped about 1% as the news sent benchmark U.S. bond yields to their lowest since Dec. 12.

Eight of the 11 S&P 500 sectors were in the red, with only sectors considered defensive plays, such as real estate, trading higher.

The three main stock indexes had closed at record highs on Thursday.

As fresh monetary stimulus by China added to investor optimism over trade.

However, denting sentiment on Friday, data showed the U.S. manufacturing sector contracted in December by the most in more than a decade.

At 12:43 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 173.13 points, or 0.60%, at 28,695.67. The S&P 500 was down 14.10 points, or 0.43%, at 3,243.75. The Nasdaq Composite was down 33.40 points, or 0.37%, at 9,058.79.

Safe-haven assets such as gold surged after the airstrike, boosting shares of miners Newmont Goldcorp, Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd and Barrick Gold Corp between 0.3% and 0.8%.

Weapons makers Lockheed Martin Corp and Northrop Grumman Corp were the biggest boost to the S&P 500 index. They gained more than 4% after the airstrike in Iraq.

Meanwhile, oil prices jumped about 2%, denting shares of American Airlines Group Inc and Southwest Airlines Co .

Meanwhile, Tesla Inc shares hit a fresh record high after beating estimates for vehicle deliveries in the fourth quarter.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.17-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.50-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 16 new 52-week highs and one new low.

While the Nasdaq recorded 45 new highs and 10 new lows.

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