Wall Street falls, oil prices rise on Middle East war concerns

Oil prices rose and Wall Street fell before Friday's opening bell after the US and Britain bombarded Yemen in response to Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, which have impeded international trade.

S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average futures lost 0.3% and 0.5%, respectively.A regional escalation in the combustible Israeli-Palestinian conflict raised oil prices.

Benchmark US crude oil prices rose $3.4% to $74.43 a barrel early Friday, up $2.41. The price rose 65 cents to $72.02 on Thursday. Global benchmark Brent crude increased $2.45 to $79.86/barrel.

Friday saw a spike in corporate earnings as major companies reported their fourth-quarter 2023 results. Delta Air Lines shares slumped 5.8% in premarket trade despite record sales, tripling earnings, and rumors of additional planes. The company's 2024 per-share profits prediction spooked investors.

Three of the nation's top banks announced quarterly losses on Friday. Last year's financial crisis and rising interest rates are still affecting Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America. Before trading began, JPMorgan and Citigroup shares rose 2% and Citigroup 1.8%, while Bank of America and Wells Fargo shares fell slightly.

The German DAX climbed 0.6%, the French CAC40 0.7%, and the British FTSE 100 0.7% at lunchtime in Europe. The Tokyo Nikkei 225 index completed the week at 35,577.11, up 1.5 percent, surpassing levels not seen since 1990, when Japan's asset bubbles began to break, dampening GDP.

On Friday, Fanuc Corp., an industrial robot maker, saw its share price rise 2.1% due to the dropping yen.The Taiex declined 0.2% to 17,512.83 before of presidential and legislative elections, testing the self-governing island's relations with Beijing and Washington.

In December, China's imports and exports grew modestly, indicating an uneven economic rebound. Global demand may rise again now that central banks have ceased hiking interest rates to fight inflation.

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