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  • US kills top Iranian commander in drone strike. 
  • CBOE Volatility Index jumps nearly 20% on Friday.
  • Financial shares suffer heavy losses amid plummeting US T-bond yields.

Wall Street’s main indexes started the last day of the week sharply lower as investors seek refuge in safer assets amid escalating tensions in the Middle East. The CBOE Volatility Index, Wall Street’s fear gauge, is up nearly 20% to reflect the intense flight-to-safety.

Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was killed in a drone strike at the Baghdad International Airport that was authorized by US President Donald Trump.

As of writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.62% on the day while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were both down 0.65%.

Among the 11-major S&P 500 sectors, the Financials Index is down 1.35% in the early trade pressured by a more than 2% drop in the 10-year US Treasury bond yield. On the other hand, rising crude oil prices help the Energy Index stay in the positive territory. At the moment, the barrel of West Texas Intermediate was trading at $63.40, adding 3.7% on a daily basis.