European Shares Drop On Middle East Tensions


European stocks fell on Friday amid heightened geopolitical tensions after a U.S. airstrike killed top Iranian military personnel, Qassem Soleimani.


The U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement that it had killed the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds Forces in an airstrike.


The Department of Defense said Soleimani was behind the recent attacks on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and said the "strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans."


Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said there would be "revenge" for Soleimani's death.

The pan European Stoxx 600 fell 0.8 percent to 416.31 after climbing 0.9 percent in the previous session.


The German DAX tumbled 1.5 percent, France's CAC 40 index declined 0.7 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was down 0.4 percent.


Energy stocks were moving up as oil prices jumped nearly 3 percent on fears of a supply disruption. Total SA rose 1 percent, Royal Dutch Shell climbed 1.2 percent and BP Plc advanced 1.6 percent.


Bovis Homes Group lost 1 percent. The housebuilder said it has completed the acquisition of Galliford Try plc's Linden Homes and Partnerships & Regeneration businesses.


Retailer Next Plc edged down slightly despite raising its full-year profit guidance.


British American Tobacco shares rose over 1 percent. The company announced that the U.S. FDA's Flavour Guidance is a welcome step towards returning the U.S. vapour market to stability following a significant period of disruption and uncertainty.


Budget airline Ryanair Holdings fell 2.7 percent after announcing its group traffic figures for December.


In economic releases, German unemployment rose more than expected in December, while the jobless rate held close to historic lows, official data showed.


French consumer inflation grew at the fastest pace in a year in December, flash data from the statistical office Insee showed.


U.K. house price inflation exceeded 1 percent for the first time in 12 months in December, survey data from the Nationwide Building Society revealed.




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