Wall Street’s major indexes fell from record highs on Friday after a U.S. air strike in Iraq ratcheted up tensions in the Middle East and a bigger-than-expected contraction in the U.S. manufacturing sector raised concerns of slowing economic growth.
Friday’s decline put the benchmark S&P 500 in the red for the week, snapping a five-week winning streak for the index.
Demand for safe-haven assets soared as Iran vowed revenge for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, head of its elite Quds Force, in an air strike authorized by U.S. President Donald Trump.
In a further blow to U.S. market sentiment, data from the Institute for Supply Management showed that U.S. factory activity contracted in December by the most in more than a decade.
S&P 500 bank stocks .SPXBK dropped 1.6% as the news sent benchmark U.S. bond yields US10YT=RR to their lowest since Dec. 12.
Shares of airlines also tumbled as oil prices jumped about 3%. American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O) shares dropped 5.0%, while shares of United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL.O) fell 2.1%.
Among the S&P 500’s 11 major sectors, only real estate .SPLRCR and utilities .SPLRCU – both considered defensive plays – ended higher.
In a sign of investor jitters, U.S. stocks extended their fall following a false report of an attack on a U.S. military base in Iraq.
Shares of U.S. defense companies jumped on news of the air strike that killed Soleimani. Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) shares climbed 5.4% and Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) shares rose 3.6%. The two provided the biggest boosts to the S&P 500.
For the week, the Dow dipped 0.04%, the S&P 500 fell 0.17%, and the Nasdaq rose 0.16%.
Among advancers, Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) shares hit a record high and ended up 3.0% after the automaker beat estimates for vehicle deliveries in the fourth quarter.
Lamb Weston Holdings Inc (LW.N) shares surged 11.3%, the biggest percentage gain on the S&P 500, after the frozen foods supplier’s quarterly results surpassed estimates.
Shares of retailer L Brands Inc (LB.N) rose 7.8% after Bank of America upgraded its rating on the company’s stock.