European stocks seen lower as Iran retaliates with strikes on US bases


European stocks are set to open lower on Wednesday after Iran fired rockets on Iraqi airbases housing U.S. troops.

Britain’s FTSE 100 is seen falling 26 points to 7,544, Germany’s CAC dropping 96 points to 13,133 and France’s CAC slumping 31 points to 5,990, according to IG index data.

Tehran retaliated to Washington’s killing of its top military commander late Tuesday, launching more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeted at U.S. military forces in Iraq. It was not immediately clear whether any U.S. service members were harmed in the attacks.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif said via Twitter that “we do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”

“All is well!” President Donald Trump tweeted, adding that an assessment of casualties was taking place.

Oil and traditional safe havens like gold and the Japanese yen surged following the attacks, while riskier assets such as equities fell. MSCI’s broadest index of Asian shares excluding Japan shed 0.5%.

Back in Europe, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen Wednesday, where he is due to tell her that the U.K. will not extend its transition out of the EU beyond Dec. 2020.

In corporate news, Sainsbury’s is due to release a third-quarter trading statement. As for data, German factory orders for November are expected later in the morning.

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