Oil prices surge, stocks stumble after US kills Iranian general

(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Stocks fell broadly on Wall Street and oil prices surged Friday after a U.S military strike killed a top Iranian general in Iraq.

The killing rattled global markets and knocked U.S. stock indexes off their recent all-time highs. The selling also put the benchmark S&P 500 index on track to snap a five-week winning streak.

Financial stocks were among the biggest decliners as investors bought up U.S. government bonds, sending their yields lower. Technology stocks, health care companies and airlines also took heavy losses.

Several energy stocks rose as the price of U.S. oil headed higher. Defense contractors also notched gains.

Benchmark U.S. crude climbed $1.87, or 3.1%, to settle at $63.05 per barrel. It had been up 3.6% earlier in the day. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose $2.35, or 3.5%, to close at $68.60 per barrel.

Many anticipate that the jump in oil price will prompt a similar spike at the pump.

Energy market analyst and FOX Business contributor Phil Flynn says the surge in oil prices is just a trend and won’t last as long as they used to after a major event.

“The main reason is that the US is one of the biggest oil producers now so when we see these disruptions in supply, the prices go back down," Flynn said.

The selling followed a broad decline in markets overseas following news that Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was killed in an air attack at the Baghdad international airport early Friday.

Flynn says the price spike could come down quickly as long as there is no escalation in tensions where Iran lashes out and attacks a refinery somewhere on the globe.

“In DC of course you have some pretty high taxes so your prices sometimes can be higher than other parts of the nation, but we believe the increase will be relatively modest at this point," he said.

President Donald Trump said the attack was ordered because Soleimani was plotting to kill many Americans. The strike marks a major escalation in the conflict between Washington and Iran, as Iran vowed “harsh retaliation" for the killing of the senior military leader.

The price of gold, which investors buy in times of uncertainty as a safe haven of value, rose $24.70, or 1.6%, to $1,549.20 per ounce.

The Associated Press contributed to this report