Dow futures under pressure after Boeing crash, but stocks aim to shake off Iranian missile strike



U.S. stock-index futures on Wednesday pared overnight losses and were mostly edging higher in the aftermath of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps attacks that were an apparent retaliation for last week’s killing of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

However, the Dow was being pressured lower after a Boeing Co. jet operated by Ukraine International Airlines crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran on Wednesday.

How are benchmarks performing?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average

YMH20, +0.04%

were up 12 points, or less than 0.1%, at 28,538, those for the S&P 500 index

ESH20, +0.27%

were up 7.45 points, or 0.2%, at 3,242.50, while Nasdaq-100 futures

NQH20, +0.30%

advanced 21.25 points, or 0.2%, at 8,874.25.

On Tuesday, the Dow

DJIA, -0.42%

 shed 119.70 points, or 0.4%, at 28,583.6, while the S&P 500

SPX, -0.28%

 lost 9.10 points, 0.3%, at 3,237.18. The Nasdaq Composite Index

COMP, -0.03%

gave up 2.88 points, or less than 0.1%, at 9,068.58.

Read: What stock market investors need to know about intensifying U.S.-Iran tensions

What’s driving the market?

Mideast tensions ratcheted higher as Iran delivered what is being described as a measured response to the assassination last week of a top general. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed further retaliation for the U.S.’s killing of Soleimani, hours after striking military bases in Iraq that house U.S. forces, but stopped short of threatening more military action, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Tehran’s military response, firing more than a dozen missiles at U.S. military bases in Iraq at Al Asad and Erbil, briefly rattled financial markets in after-hours trade, but the moves in stocks, bonds, and commodities quickly moderated as investors reassessed the chances of a broader conflict.

Fears were tempered by tweets from Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, who said via Twitter that Iran didn’t seek further escalation, but would “defend ourselves against any aggression.” Meanwhile, President Donald Trump tweeted his own upbeat message: “All is well.” He was expected to talk about the attacks later Wednesday morning.

Looking beyond geopolitics, investors are awaiting some key employment data ahead of more closely followed jobs report on Friday. A monthly private sector employment report from Automatic Data Processing Inc., is due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, with the data expected to show that 157,000 jobs were created in December, according to analysts’ consensus estimates from Econoday.

Which stocks were in focus?

Shares of Boeing

BA, +1.06%

 were lower after a 737 airplane—not the 737 MAX aircraft that crashed twice and has been grounded—suffered a fatal crash shortly after takeoff in Tehran en route to Kyiv, killing all 167 passengers and nine crew members on board.

Lennar Corp.’s stock

LEN, -1.57%

rose in premarket trade on better-than-forecast results.

How are other markets trading?

Oil futures pared big gains overnight to face more muted trade. West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery

CLG20, -1.42%

was off 16 cents, or 0.3%, at $62.54 a barrel after the U.S. benchmark oil settled 0.9% on Tuesday.

Gold was trading slightly higher, around its highest level since 2013, amid the Middle East tensions. February gold

GCG20, -0.25%

was last up 0.4% at $1,581.10 an ounce.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note

TMUBMUSD10Y, +0.24%

was at 1.80%, down about 2 basis points.

The U.S. dollar was 0.1% higher at 97.15, versus a basket of six international currencies as measured by the ICE US Dollar index

DXY, +0.21%.

In Asia overnight, the CSI 3000

000300, -1.15%

 closed 1.1% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei 225

NIK, -1.57%

 lost 1.6%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng

HSI, -0.83%

 shed 0.8%.

In Europe, the FTSE 100

FTSE, -0.44%

 was trading little-changed, while the pan-European Stoxx Europe 600

SXXP, +0.17%

 was up less than 0.1%.


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