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Iran retaliation, Ford sales and service sector data: 3 things to know for Monday

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on the morning that online image board Pinterest Inc. makes its initial public offering on April 18, 2019 in New York City.
Spencer Platt

Here's what you need to know about Monday before you head out for the weekend.

Iran retaliation

The dominant story over the weekend will likely be the situation between the United States and Iran.

Oil and safe haven assets climbed on Friday while stocks fell following an airstrike by the United States that took out Iran's top military leader.

Iranian officials have promised retaliation after Gen. Qasem Soleimani was killed in Baghdad. Iran has an extensive history of using cyber attacks against foreign governments and businesses.

U.S. leaders have done little publicly to calm the waters, with President Trump tweeting that Soleimani "should have been taken out many years ago." The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is urging American citizens in Iraq to leave the country immediately.

The U.S. is sending roughly 3,500 troops to the Middle East, though defense officials say the deployment is not a direct response to the killing of Soleimani.

History shows that stocks and oil prices tend to rise in the months following major crisis events in the Middle East, but many analysts were cautious about the stock market on Friday as the world waits to see how Iran will respond.

Auto sales

Ford will release its fourth quarter and full-year vehicle sales on Monday, following reports this week from General Motors and Tesla.

Ford previously reported 580,251 vehicle sales in the United States for the third quarter, a 4.9% decline compared with the same period a year prior.

On Friday, General Motors reported 735,909 U.S. sales for the fourth quarter, a 6.3% decline compared with the same quarter in 2018. The auto industry as a whole is expected to report a sales decline of 1% for 2019.

Electric car company Tesla beat expectations for sales, however, reporting 112,000 vehicles sold globally.

Service sector data

IHS Markit will release data about the U.S. service sector on Monday as the economy tries to build on gains from November.

The flash reading for the services purchasing managers' index, an early estimate released in mid-December, was 52.2. If the final number matches the estimate, it will be the highest reading since July.

The index is calculated such that readings above 50 represent expansion and readings below 50 represent contraction. The Markit services PMI has not had a reading below 50 since 2016.

Markit's manufacturing sector PMI for December was released on Thursday, coming in at 52.4. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing PMI, which has differed from Markit's in recent months, came in at 47.2. That was the fifth straight month of manufacturing sector contraction, according to the ISM's readings, and the lowest level since June 2009.

Major events (all times Eastern)

9:45 a.m. Services PMI