Markets turned positive in pre-trading on Wednesday, after an overnight plunge that saw Dow Jones Industrial Average futures drop by more than 400 points in response to a ballistic missile attack by Iran on U.S. military bases in Iraq.
The price of oil soared and global markets sank overnight Tuesday after the attack, which was a response to the killing last week of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump.
By mid-morning on Wednesday, markets had reversed their downward trajectory, with the Nasdaq hitting an all-time high as investors breathed a sigh of relief that the Iranian response had so far not been as fierce as many had feared. No oil production facilities had been targeted, and there were no reports of any casualties. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei described the strikes as a "slap in the face" to the U.S. and not sufficient retaliation.
Market activity has been volatile since Friday’s attack, with gold spiking to a six-year high and bitcoin seeing a boost as investors sought safe havens amid the geopolitical tension. Oil surged by 4 percent over concerns Iran would retaliate by taking steps to choke the world’s supply of crude, but has since settled below that peak.
Traders were also parsing the impact of another fatal Boeing crash, after a plane carrying 176 people caught fire just after takeoff in Iran on Wednesday. Initial reports indicated the plane had engine failure. Shares in Boeing were down by around 2 percent early on Wednesday.