Asian stocks tumble after Iran missile attack on US troops

BEIJING (AP) — Oil prices rose and Asian stock markets fell Wednesday after Iran fired missiles at U.S. bases in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of an Iranian general.

Brent crude futures, the benchmark for international oils, temporarily spiked more than $3 per barrel in London before retreating.

Tokyo’s stock market benchmark fell nearly 2% and Hong Kong’s was off nearly 1%. Shanghai, Sydney and Southeast Asian markets also retreated.

“Investors appear to be pricing for an all-out war,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a report.

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The Pentagon said Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at bases in Iraq used by U.S. troops. President Donald Trump tweeted “All is well!” and that casualty and damage assessments were ongoing, adding “So far, so good!”

Iran’s foreign minister described the attack as “proportionate measures in self-defense.”

Financial markets have been on edge about the possibility of U.S.-Iranian conflict and disruption of oil supplies since last week’s killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone in Baghdad.

Brent crude was up $1.02 at $69.29. At the start of Wednesday’s trading, it spiked $3.48 to $71.75 before retreating.

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Benchmark U.S. crude was up 82 cents to $63.51 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It earlier jumped $2.95 to $65.65 before settling back.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index fell 1.96% to 23,114.64 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.8% to 29,108.49.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5% to 3,090.62 and Seoul’s Kospi retreated 0.7% to 2,161.90.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.% to 6,809.80. Taiwan, New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets also retreated.

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Before the latest attack, the rush by investors into safe assets had been abating.

Gold’s momentum eased Tuesday after touching its highest price in nearly seven years.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.3% to 3,237.18 in trading that closed before the Iranian attack.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4% to 28,583.68. The Nasdaq composite slipped less than 0.1% to 9,068.58.