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Asian Markets Fall as Iran Retaliates Against U.S. in Rocket Attack

Investing.com - Asian markets fell in morning trade on Wednesday amid news that Iran fired a series of rockets at two U.S.-Iraqi airbases.

The move was Iran’s first response to the killing of General Qassem Soleimani by a U.S. airstrike last week. It was not clear if there were any casualties or major damage from the attacks.

“We are aware of the reports of attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “The president has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.”

Haven assets surged following the news, while global equities traded lower.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 plunged 1.9% by 10:30 PM ET (02:30 GMT), while China’s Shanghai Composite and the SZSE Component dropped 0.7% and 0.3% respectively.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 1.0%. South Korea’s KOSPI also fell 1.0%.

Down under, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 traded 0.3% lower.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) called the attack the start of its “Martyr Soleimani” operation, claiming that further responses will be on the way.

“The IRGC announces to the great Satan the U.S. that any responses will be met with much more pain and destruction,” the IRGC said in a statement on its Sepah News website.

In the U.S., stocks closed lower overnight despite data that showed signs the economy remained on firm footing, with services data for December topping economists’ forecasts.

Traders will switch their focus to the upcoming U.S. job report due on Friday and the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy path into 2020. Fed officials including Richard Clarida, John Williams, James Bullard and Charles Evans will speak on Thursday.

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