(RTTNews) - European stocks are likely to open lower on Friday as investors weigh the impact of an escalation in Middle East tensions.
Oil prices surged nearly 3 percent following reports that an Iranian military commander was killed in a Baghdad airstrike.
The Pentagon later confirmed that Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, and top Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis were killed in the air strike on their convoy at Baghdad airport.
Asian stocks edged lower, with markets in Japan still closed for a holiday. Safe-haven assets rose, with gold prices climbing to a four-month high on dollar weakness.
In economic releases, U.K. shop prices decreased for the seventh straight month in December as retailers resorted to discounting, a survey from the British Retail Consortium showed today. The BRC-Nielsen shop price index dropped 0.4 percent year-on-year in the month.
Across the Atlantic, trading later in the day may be impacted by reaction to reports on manufacturing activity and construction spending as well as the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting.
U.S. stocks hit fresh record closing highs on the first trading day of 2020 as trade war worries eased and China's central bank said it will free up more money for lending.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.2 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rallied 1.3 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.8 percent.
European markets also rallied on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump said the phase one trade agreement with China would be signed in the middle of this month.
The pan European Stoxx 600 advanced 0.9 percent, shrugging off dismal economic news from Europe and the U.K.
The German DAX climbed 1 percent, France's CAC 40 index gained 1.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.8 percent.
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