Oil, Treasuries, gold prices jump amid Israel-Hamas war

Oil pump jack is seen in front of displayed Israeli flag in this illustration taken, 8 October 2023.

Oil, US Treasuries and gold prices rose on Friday, with crude soaring nearly 6 per cent, on safe-haven buying driven by the escalating Middle East conflict as Israel urged civilians to leave the northern Gaza Strip.

Brentcrude surged 7.5 per cent in the week since the conflict began, posting its highest weekly gain since February, as investors priced in a chance of escalation in the world's top oil producing region.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 ended lower despite upbeat results from big U.S. banks on Friday, which marked the unofficial start of the third-quarter reporting period for S&P 500 companies.

Weak U.S. consumer data also weighed on stocks. U.S. consumer sentiment deteriorated in October, with households expecting higher inflation over the next year.

Shares of JPMorgan JPM.N were up 1.5 per cent after it reported a 35 per cent profit increase from the year-ago quarter.

The Israeli military called for civilians to leave Gaza City ahead of an anticipated ground invasion in response to devastating attacks by Hamas militants at the weekend.

The yield on 10-year Treasuries US10YT=RR was last down 8.2 basis points at 4.629 per cent.

Spot gold XAU= added 3.2 per cent on the day to $1,928.99 an ounce, and had its biggest weekly percentage gain since March.

Brent futures LCOc1 rose $4.89, or 5.7 per cent, to settle at $90.89 per barrel, and U.S. crude CLc1 closed $4.78, or 5.8 per cent, higher at $87.69 a barrel.

"The goal is to get into a safe asset that would work if the ground assault gets bad over the weekend," said Marvin Loh, senior global macro strategist at State Street in Boston.

"Everything that's going on in the Middle East is getting more and more unfortunately depressing and seems to have the potential to get worse," he said.

In stocks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 39.15 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 33,670.29, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 21.83 points, or 0.50 per cent, to 4,327.78 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 166.99 points, or 1.23 per cent, to 13,407.23.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX lost 0.98 per cent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS shed 0.81 per cent.

The dollar was also helped by safe-haven buying driven by the escalating Middle East conflict.

The dollar index =USD, which measures the US currency against six of its major peers, ticked up 0.11 per cent to 106.63. The index, which jumped 0.8 per cent on Thursday, its biggest one-day rise since March 15, is on pace to finish the week up 0.5 per cent.

Data earlier on Friday showed China's consumer prices were flat in September, while factory-gate prices shrank more slowly, indicating deflationary pressures persist, while exports and imports continued to contract at a slower pace.