Showing posts with label Bombings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bombings. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Belgium Warned of Attacks. It Wasn't Enough.

1268 MAR 22, 2016 9:17 AM EDT
By Josh Rogin
Only days ago in Brussels, as Western leaders celebrated the arrest of a key terrorist suspect, Belgian officials warned that there were dozens more jihadists at large in the city and that more attacks were being planned. They couldn’t have known how right they were.

I traveled to Brussels on March 16, to attend the German Marshall Fund's Brussels Forum, a meeting of U.S. and European officials, foreign policy experts and journalists, where the fight against terrorism was at the top of the agenda. Two U.S. senators and several Obama administration officials who attended had just passed through the main terminal of the Brussels airport. On Tuesday morning, it was hit by what Belgian authorities described as a suicide attack. At least 26 were killed and many more wounded at the airport, and in a parallel attack on the city's subway system.

Stocks fall, gold and govt bonds rise after Brussels explosions

Tue Mar 22, 2016 5:54am EDT


European stocks fell and investors rushed for the safety of gold and government bonds on Tuesday, after two explosions at Brussels airport killed several people and blasts at metro stations in the Belgian capital.

Travel sector stocks including airlines and hotels fell the most, pulling the broader indices down from multi-week highs as reports on the scale of the carnage in the de facto capital of the European Union unfolded.

Belgian media reported that at least 11 people had been killed and that one of the blasts at the airport was a suicide bomber. This came four days after the arrest in Brussels of a suspected participant in November militant attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

"The initial reaction in financial markets has been airline stocks all lower, and safe-haven capital flow with gold, German government bonds and the Japanese yen in demand," said Brenda Kelly, head analyst at London Capital Group.

"The news has certainly overshadowed much of the euro zone economic data this morning," she said.

At 0915 GMT the FTSEuroFirst 300 index of leading shares was down 1 percent at 1,326 points .FTEU3. Germany's DAX was also down 1 percent and Belgian stocks were down 0.8 percent .BEL20. These indices had earlier been down twice as much.

The STOXX Europe 600 Travel & Leisure index .SXTP was the top sectoral faller, down 2.2 percent. Shares in major European airlines like easyJet (EZJ.L) and Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) were down as much as 4 percent (LHAG.DE), and hotel company Accor (ACCP.PA) also fell 4 percent.

Gold rose 1 percent to $1,255 an ounce XAU=, and the yield on benchmark German government bonds fell to a two-week low of 0.18 percent EU10YT=RR. U.S. Treasury yields fell 2 basis points across the curve US2YT=RR US10YT=RR.

In currency markets the Japanese yen, often considered a something of a safe-haven asset, rose across the board, notably against the euro. The euro was last down 0.6 percent at 125.10 yen EURJPY= and the dollar was down 0.3 percent at 111.60 yen JPY=.

The single currency fell a third of a percent against the dollar to $1.1205 EUR=.


For financial markets, the events in Brussels came in a week where liquidity was starting to dry up ahead of the Easter holiday and investors were beginning to think about cashing in on a steep rally in stocks over the last few weeks.

"Coming up to the Easter holiday, people are going to be very reluctant to put more money into these (stock) markets. If anything, they will be more likely to take money out," said Michael Hewson, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in London.

"Anything like the events we're seeing in Brussels this morning is going to weigh on risk sentiment and risk appetite," he said.

U.S. stock futures pointed to a fall of around a third of one percent on Wall Street ESc1.

Investors paid little attention to the economic data released on Tuesday which showed a slight pick up in German business morale and euro zone business activity in March

Earlier, Asian stocks seesawed as hawkish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials clouded the monetary policy outlook less than a week after Fed Chair Janet Yellen had set out a more cautious path to interest rate increases this year.

The dollar got a mild boost from the suggestion that interest rate hikes could be on the way sooner rather than later.

Japan's Nikkei stock index .N225 added 1.9 percent, closing at a one-week high, after markets in Tokyo reopened after a public holiday on Monday. A weaker yen, before the Brussels-related rebound, gave a tailwind to local shares.

Elsewhere, sterling was one of the biggest losers among the major currencies after ratings agency Moody's said Britain's credit rating will be put under pressure by a marked slowdown in fiscal consolidation unveiled in last week's budget.

The warning came amid concerns about Prime Minister David Cameron's ability to keep Britain in the European Union after leading 'Out' campaigner Iain Duncan Smith resigned from the cabinet late on Friday.

Sterling was last down 0.6 percent at $1.4281 GBP=, more than two cents off Friday's one-month high of $1.4514.

It was a rare day of stability in oil markets, with U.S. crude futures unchanged at $41.53 a barrel CLc1 and Brent crude LCOc1 also flat on the day at $41.60.

(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

Brussels Rocked by Deadly Attacks With Blasts at Airport, Subway

By James G Neuger and  Jonathan Stearns

Explosions ripped through the Brussels airport departure hall and a downtown subway station on Tuesday morning, causing deaths and injuries and spurring fears of imminent follow-up attacks in the capital of the European Union.
Belgium’s military sent reinforcements to Brussels after two bombs went off in rapid succession at the airport around 8 a.m., the peak check-in hour for morning flights within Europe. RTL news reported as many as 13 dead and 25 injured. An hour later, an explosion hit a subway station a short walk from EU headquarters, with conflicting reports of casualties.