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Egypt: Why the Markets Care
January 30, 2011
Turmoil in the Middle East – most notably street riots in Egypt – is having a sharp impact on global markets. That impact is expected to be felt acutely in the U.S. by companies that do business there and by investors with exposure to the troubled region.
“Americans may feel a great distance from Egypt but it may only be far in miles,” said commodities expert Kevin Kerr, head of Kerr Trading International.
In the short-term, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 160 points on Friday, clearly on fears tied to the escalating violence in Egypt; the price of oil spiked $3.70 on concerns that transportation channels — specifically the Suez Canal — could be disrupted if the protests grow in numbers and strength; gold is higher as investors, frightened by images of riot police clashing with protesters in Cairo and elsewhere, are seeking safe havens.
Meanwhile, energy-related companies such as exploration firm Apache Corp. (APA: 114.79, 0.00, 0.00%), which gets 25% of its production flow from Egypt, and BHP Billiton (BHP: 87.18, 0.00, 0.00%), which has substantial mining operations in the region, are getting pounded.
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