US stocks edge up as Iran tensions deflate after Trump speech

January 08, 2020

Wall Street's response suggested investor relief, an analyst said, but true judgement would come after assessing economic damage

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The floor of the New York Stock Exchange — as seen through a zoom effect lens — in New York, US, November 1, 2007. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/Files

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks edged higher early Wednesday amid hopes that US-Iran hostilities will not worsen while US hiring data topped expectations.

In its first concrete retaliation over the killing of a top Iranian commander, Iran fired missiles at Iraqi bases hosting US and other foreign troops. So far there were no reports of casualties.

A Eurasia Group note predicted that Tehran and US President Donald Trump will de-escalate the crisis, saying the Iran attack "appeared designed for maximum domestic effect with minimum escalatory risk."

The market's response suggested investor relief, said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

"It's not a foregone conclusion that last night's missile attacks are the end of things but true to its resilient nature, the stock market will render its judgement on the state of affairs based on its assessment of the economic damage done by these unruly affairs," he wrote.

About 40 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 28,629.13, up 0.2 percent.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent to 3,246.88, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.4 percent at 9,100.67.

Private companies added 202,000 jobs in December, according to payrolls firm ADP. The figures bested analyst expectations and came ahead of Friday's government jobs report.

Shares of Boeing fell 2.2 percent following the fatal crash of a Ukraine International Airlines plane in Iran.

The plane, a 737-800, is a predecessor version of the Boeing 737 MAX, which has been grounded following two earlier crashes.

Analysts said it was too soon to speculate on causes of the crash, noting the calamity came amid the broader US-Iran clash.

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