European shares slipped from near record highs on Friday after a US air strike in Iraq killed a top Iranian commander and fanned tensions in the Middle East, with a surge in oil prices hammering airline stocks.
Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, architect of the country’s spreading military influence in the Middle East, was killed in the air strike at Baghdad airport, prompting a vow of harsh revenge from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.8%, with all the major country indexes well in the red.
The European travel and leisure sector shed 1.8%, led by losses for airlines Lufthansa, Air France and EasyJet as oil prices jumped nearly 3%.
The air strike also sent crude prices up more than 3%, pushing up Russian stocks, which are sensitive to oil price movements. Oil giant Gazprom led the advance.
Read more via The Jerusalem Post