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Business News/ News / World/  Wall street fear gauge hits 5-month high, US mulls over $1 billion in new arms for Israel | 10 points
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Wall street fear gauge hits 5-month high, US mulls over $1 billion in new arms for Israel | 10 points

Explosions in Isfahan province amid concerns of wider Middle East conflict attributed to Israel. Tehran downplays attack, hints at no retaliation to avert region-wide war.

Vehicles drive past an anti-Israeli banner showing missiles being launched, in a square in downtown Tehran (AP)Premium
Vehicles drive past an anti-Israeli banner showing missiles being launched, in a square in downtown Tehran (AP)

Explosions rang out across the Iranian province of Isfahan on Friday amid growing concerns about a wider Middle East conflict. The attack — which caused ‘minimal’ damage — is being attributed to Israel and comes days after Tehran launched more than 300 missiles and drones towards the other country. Meanwhile the US has announced new sanctions against Iran and is reportedly considering more than $1 billion in new weapons deals for Israel.

Officials in Iran said the country had fired at three drones over the city of Isfahan. A major air base in the region incidentally houses their fleet of American-made F-14 Tomcats. Tehran also referred to the incident as an attack by “infiltrators" rather than by Israel — obviating the need for retaliation. US media reports however quoted unnamed officials to suggest that Israel had carried out the attacks. Some Israeli politicians also made comments hinting that the country had launched an attack.

The middle east conflict has also affected markets sentiment with the future for the S&P 500 down 0.6% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 0.5%.

Here are the latest developments:

 

  • The Wall Street "fear gauge" hit a five month high on Friday amid a sharp pullback in interest US rate cut expectations and escalating geopolitical tensions. Investors have been left scrambling for safe-haven assets in recent weeks as the Iran-Israel conflict gained momentum and the Gaza war raged on. As per a Reuters report, the CBOE Volatility index (an options-based measure of investor expectations for near-term stock market gyrations) hit 21.33 points on April 19 — crossing the psychological mark of 20 points for the first time since October 30 last year.
  • The demand for safe-haven assets has also propelled gold steadily upwards. The metal saw prices rise on Friday as it remained poised for a fifth straight weekly gain.
  • Oil prices steadied after an initial surge as market fears of a major escalation appeared to ease and a build-up of global oil stocks weighed. The benchmark contracts surged more than $3 before dipping back down. At 0845 GMT, Brent futures were up 14 cents, or 0.2%, at $87.25 a barrel. The most active U.S. West Texas Intermediate contract climbed 23 cents, or 0.3%, to $82.96 per barrel.

 

 

 

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Published: 19 Apr 2024, 03:01 PM IST
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