Investors worldwide gripped by Egypt unrest
By Al Yoon
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar and U.S. Treasuries rose on Friday as concerns that protests in Egypt will intensify and spread across the Middle East drove investors to seek safer assets.
Stocks fell around the world and crude oil prices rose.
President Hosni Mubarak imposed curfews across Egypt as media coverage of growing unrest further unsettled global financial markets where investors had been accelerating moves into riskier assets.
"The market is a little sensitive when people take to the streets as it reminds them of the riots in Greece a year ago, and that did lead to a flight into the safety of U.S. Treasuries," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo/Mitsubishi UFJ in New York.
The price of gold also rose on the sudden shift in market sentiment, and the Swiss franc gained along with the dollar as investors turned to currencies considered safe-havens.
"If the Mubarak government falls, the next few days could see some heavy U.S. dollar and Swiss Franc safe-haven buying," said Joseph Trevisani, chief market analyst at FX Solutions in Saddle River, New Jersey.
On Wall Street, shares fell from 29-month highs as disappointing results by high-profile companies including Amazon and Ford added to the negative sentiment from the turmoil in Egypt.
Energy stocks declined despite a more than 2 percent surge in oil prices, as uncertainty over the weekend developments in Egypt and anemic growth in Chevron's oil reserves kept investors jittery. Continued...