U.S. Will Slap New Sanctions On Iran Following Strikes On U.S. Targets


⇑⇓ STOCK MARKET NEWS TODAY — BUSINESS & FINANCIAL NEWS ⇓⇑

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Friday that the U.S. would impose new sanctions on Iran’s metal exports and a handful of the country’s senior officials.

The new penalties came days after Iran fired a barrage of missiles at Iraqi bases that were housing U.S. targets — a move made in retaliation for an American airstrike in Baghdad that killed Iran’s top military leader, Qasem Soleimani.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said that the U.S. will “immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.”

Last month, State Department officials said the pressure on Iran “will intensify in 2020, as the U.S. seeks to rein in Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear infrastructure and regional aggression.”

“There will be more sanctions to come, and Iran’s economic problems and challenges are going to compound in 2020,” a senior State Department official said on a Dec. 30 call with reporters.

“They are already deep into a recession, and we are also seeing Iran come under greater diplomatic isolation.”

Another senior State Department official added that the Trump administration has sanctioned approximately 1,000 individuals and entities with links to Iran’s malign activities.

“What we are doing is denying the regime the revenue that it needs to run an expansionist foreign policy, and by that policy, Iran has less money to spend today than it did almost three years ago when we came into office,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In December, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced another round of fresh sanctions, this time targeting Iran’s largest shipping company and biggest airline, saying the companies are aiding the regime’s alleged proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

“As long as its malign behaviors continue, so will our campaign of maximum pressure,” Pompeo said during a Dec. 11 press conference at the State Department.




Today’s Stock Market News – Friday, 10 January, 2020


Stock Market Today — World stocks set new record highs on Friday and the prices of safe-haven assets such as gold pulled back as investors cheered an apparent de-escalation in U.S.-Iran tensions and looked instead to prospects of improved global growth.

Markets have swiftly reversed the sharp falls seen at the start of the week after the United States killed Iran’s most senior general, believing it would not lead to a full-scale military confrontation that would rock investor confidence.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, has quickly resumed its rally and added another 0.1% on Friday to hit a new record high. It is almost 1.5% above the lows seen on Monday.

European shares were mixed at the open, with pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 (STOXX50E) down 0.16%, the German DAX (GDAXI) up 0.06% and Britain’s FTSE (FTSE) 0.1% ahead.

That followed record levels in the three major share indexes on Wall Street on Thursday. Stock markets have got off to a strong start in 2019 despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to kill military commander Qassem Soleimani, the second most powerful figure in Iran, in a missile strike in Baghdad.

FULL CIRCLE… “In the space of a few days we appear to have swung full circle; with investors seemingly convinced that the problems in the Middle East appear to have settled down, at least for the time being,” said Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets.

“Investors now have the opportunity to focus on the signing of the new U.S.-China phase one trade deal next week, as well as the health of the U.S. economy today, and in particular the labor market which has continued to look resilient,” he added, referring to all-important U.S. non-farm payrolls data due at 1330 GMT.

While markets judge the United States and Iran to be making moves to defuse the tensions, investors also welcomed news that sales of Apple’s iPhones in China in December jumped more than 18% on the year.

Investors digested the report as a prelude to the upcoming visit by China’s Vice Premier Liu He, head of the country’s negotiation team in Sino-U.S. trade talks, to Washington next week to sign a trade deal with the United States.

There were other signs of investors’ bullish mood too. MSCI’s emerging market currency index, although little changed on Friday, hit 1-1/2-year highs on Thursday in what is likely to be its sixth straight week of gains as it has also benefited from three U.S. rate cuts last year.

Safe haven assets extended their downward move. Gold eased 0.1% to $1,550 per ounce from a seven-year high of $1,610.90 hit right after Iran’s missile attack on Wednesday. Against the Japanese yen, which investors often buy in times of uncertainty, the U.S. dollar strengthened to a two-week high of 109.61 yen .



The dollar was little changed more broadly (DXY) and against the euro it stood at $1.1108 (EUR=). The euro fell to $1.1091 on Thursday, its lowest in about two weeks.

Oil prices, which spiked earlier this week on worries that tensions with Iran would disrupt global supplies, retreated further.

Brent crude fell 0.3% $65.20 a barrel, and was heading for its first decline in six weeks, down almost 5%.

U.S. crude oil dropped 0.4% to $59.33 a barrel and was also on track for its first weekly drop in six, falling 6% from last Friday’s close.

Government bond yields, which rose on Thursday as investors’ nerves about the situation in the Middle East eased, edged lower in early trading on Friday.

The benchmark 10-year German bond yield fell 1 basis point to -0.236% but for the week remains up almost 5 basis points, in a strong signal of investors’ willingness to pull back from safe-haven government debt for riskier assets.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield slipped 1 basis point to 1.849% but it too remains up 6 basis points on the week.

“Unless we have external shocks such as a resurgence of U.S.-China trade tensions or a war in the Middle East, it is hard to see the U.S. economy falling apart,” said Hiroshi Watanabe, senior economist at Sony Financial Holdings.

“There could be a great rotation to stocks from bonds. Emerging markets are likely to benefit from investors’ bullish mood too,” he added.




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