Wall Street stocks retreated from records early on Friday after a US strike killed a top Iranian commander, prompting threats of reprisal by Tehran.
About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 28,661.44, down 0.7 per cent.
The broad-based S&P 500 also shed 0.7 percent to 3,236.58, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.8 per cent to 9,023.75.
Major indices had closed at records on Thursday, but the US attack on Qasem Soleimani — and Iran’s threat to avenge his death — shook the market out of a state of contentment that has produced numerous records in recent weeks.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Soleimani had been planning imminent action that threatened American citizens when he was killed in a US strike.
Patrick O’Hare, the analyst at Briefing.com, said “the market has been operating in an overbought condition for some time” and that the Soleimani killing could be a catalyst for a pullback that investors had already been anticipating.
“However, if the market quickly bounces back, it may just invite more speculative excess that could be a setup for a larger downside correction when one actually happens,” O’Hare added.
Oil prices rallied on the developments, lifting petroleum-linked companies like Apache and Halliburton, both of which rose more than two per cent.
But airlines were under pressure with Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines all down at least two percent.