World markets mixed, oil rises on Iran concerns

A man walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, April 22, 2019. Asian stock markets were mixed Monday following the Easter holiday weekend as investors looked ahead to U.S. and Japanese economic data. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

World stock markets lower in post-Easter trading; oil prices surge on reports Washington wants to block Iran exports

BEIJING — World stock markets were mostly lower while oil prices surged for a second day Monday following reports Washington wants to block Iranian exports.

Benchmarks in Shanghai and India sank while Tokyo and Seoul were little changed. London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Sydney were closed for holidays.

On Wall Street, the future for the Standard & Poor's 500 index was off 0.3% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.2%.

Investors looked ahead to U.S. quarterly gross domestic product due out Friday. Also this week, the United States reports new home sales Tuesday while Japan announces factory output on Friday.

"The broad expectation is for U.S. indices to grind higher," Jingyi Pan of IG Markets said in a report.

"However, with prices nearing all-time highs, some sense of caution may be bound to set in," she said. "Earnings and the first reading of U.S. Q1 GDP at the end of the week would be key for markets."

The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 1.7% to 3,215.04 and India's Sensex was off 0.9% at 38,799.71. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed up 17 points at 22,217.90 and Seoul's Kospi edged up 0.5 points to 2,216.65.

Benchmarks in Taiwan and Singapore rose while Jakarta retreated.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 gained 0.2% and the Dow rose 0.4%. The Nasdaq composite added less than 0.1%.

Oil prices rose following news reports the Trump administration will tell five nations, including allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, they will no longer be exempt from U.S. sanctions if they import oil from Iran.

Washington wants to step up pressure on Tehran by cutting of export revenue, U.S. officials told The Associated Press.

If successful, that could boost demand for supplies from U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates but would heighten political tensions.

"The big fear now and perhaps the markets' next significant catalyst, will Iran retaliate with force?" said Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management in a report.

Benchmark U.S. crude surged $1.56 to $65.62 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.20 on Friday to close at $64.07. Brent crude, used to price international oils, soared $2.01 to $73.98 per barrel in London. It gained 35 cents the previous session to $71.97.

CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 111.94 yen from Friday's 111.91 yen. The euro declined to $1.1239 from $1.1245.

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