Middle East tensions dominate US markets

By Peter Milios | More Articles by Peter Milios


Early trading saw oil spike more than 3 per cent and Middle East tensions take centre stage until the limited nature of Israel’s retaliation against Iran became apparent, easing concerns of any further escalation in the region and calming markets.

The Nasdaq was the worst-performing index, closing down 2.05 per cent, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.88 per cent. Both indexes fell for a sixth straight trading day.

The Dow Jones was the only one of the major indexes to close in positive territory, finishing up 0.56 per cent.

In company news, Netflix fell more than 9 per cent even after quarterly earnings beat on the top and bottom lines. Subscriber numbers jumped 16 per cent year on year. The streamer also said it would no longer report paid memberships starting in 2025. Nvidia collapsed 10 per cent and Super Micro Computer plunged more than 23 per cent.

Those moves come as the S&P 500 posted its worst weekly performance since March 2023 amid growing fears around the path of inflation and monetary policy.

With a loss of more than 3 per cent, it was also the large-cap benchmark’s third straight negative week. A chunk of that downward pressure came from tech stocks, as the sector was the worst-performing in the S&P 500 in both the day and week.

The tech sector fell over 3 per cent on the day on Friday. The best-performing sector was Utilities which closed up 1.44 per cent.

The S&P 500 is now more than 5 per cent off its 52-week high, part of a market pullback that has been largely driven by tempered expectations for rate cuts amid sticky prices. Economists and strategists now see the Federal Reserve waiting until at least September to lower the cost of borrowing money.

The Nasdaq Composite fell 5.5 per cent this week. The tech-heavy index posted its fourth straight down week, its longest negative streak since December 2022. It also marked the Nasdaq’s worst weekly performance since November 2022.

With Friday’s advance, the Dow eked out a gain of 0.01 per cent for the week. That was its first positive week of the last three.

Turning to the Australian landscape, Australia's upcoming quarterly consumer price report is expected to show a drop in annual inflation to 3.4 per cent, slightly below the Reserve Bank's forecast of 3.5 per cent. Despite this, the figures are unlikely to sway the central bank's policy decisions.


The SPI futures are pointing to a 0.6 per cent fall.


One Australian dollar at 7.35am was buying 64.17 US cents.


Gold has gained 0.66 per cent. Silver has gained 1.62 per cent. Copper has gained 1.34 per cent. Oil is up 0.50 per cent.

Figures around the globe

European markets closed mixed on Friday. London’s FTSE added 0.24 per cent, Frankfurt lost 0.56 per cent, and Paris closed 0.01 per cent lower.

Turning to Asian markets, Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 2.66 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.99 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.29 per cent lower.

On Friday, the Australian share market closed 0.98 per cent lower at 7,567.28.


One company is going ex-dividend today. MFF Capital Investments (ASX:MFF) is paying 6 cents fully franked.

Sources: Bloomberg, FactSet, IRESS, TradingView, UBS, Bourse Data, Trading Economics, CoinMarketCap.

Sources: Bloomberg, FactSet, IRESS, TradingView, UBS, Bourse Data, Trading Economics, CoinMarketCap.


The views, opinions or recommendations of the commentators in this presentation are solely those of the author and do not in any way reflect the views, opinions, recommendations, of Sequoia Financial Group Limited ABN 90 091 744 884 and its related bodies corporate (“SEQ”). SEQ makes no representation or warranty with respect to the accuracy, completeness or currency of the content. Any prices published are accurate subject to the time of filming and shouldn’t be relied upon to make a financial decision. Commentators may hold positions in stocks mentioned and companies may pay FNN to produce the content at times. The content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. Independent advice should be obtained from an Australian Financial Services Licensee before making investment decisions. To the extent permitted by law, SEQ excludes all liability for any loss or damage arising in any way including by way of negligence.

About Peter Milios

Peter Milios is a recent graduate from the University of Technology - majoring in Finance and Accounting. Peter is currently working under equity research analyst Di Brookman for Corporate Connect Research.

View more articles by Peter Milios →