Stock futures fell sharply Friday after the U.S. confirmed it was behind an airstrike that killed Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian military leader. Soleimani's death not only heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S., it also raised concern over an energy shock that could hurt the global economy. Friday's losses would take a big chunk out of Thursday's strong rally to record highs.
West Texas Intermediate futures jumped nearly 4% to around $63.50 per barrel following the killing of Soleimani. This gave energy stocks a boost in the premarket. However, investors largely fled risk assets in favor of traditional safe havens such as gold and Treasurys. Gold futures jumped more than 1% and traded near $1,550 per ounce. The 10-year Treasury yield dropped to 1.81%.
Iran vowed to retaliate against the U.S. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet: "The U.S. bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism." Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami reportedly said "a crushing revenge" will be taken by Iran. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also said the country's stance against the U.S. will be "more decisive."
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad issued a security alert on Friday morning, urging U.S. citizens in Iraq to leave the country "immediately." The Embassy said citizens should "depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land."
An analyst at Bank of America hiked his Apple price target to $330 per share from $290 a day after the stock hit $300 for the first time. "Current data points suggest continued revenue strength for Apple including continued double digit y/y App store revenue growth," the analyst said. However, Apple shares dipped 0.6% before the bell, as the broader market remained under pressure due to geopolitical tensions.