BENGALURU: European stocks came under pressure on Monday as Mideast military clashes sparked a rush to safe-haven assets such as bonds and gold, while boosting oil prices more than 3%.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index edged 0.3% lower, led by retailer and travel & leisure stocks. Global investors turned risk averse as clashes between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas deepened political uncertainty across the region and raised oil supply concerns.

Israel said its troops backed by helicopters had killed a number of armed infiltrators entering the country from Lebanon, raising fears fighting could spread two days after Hamas gunmen burst in from Gaza on a deadly rampage.

“A risk-off mood could well prevail for the time being, at least until the scope of the conflict becomes clearer,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.

The energy index jumped 2.9% as oil prices rallied more than 3% to above $85 a barrel, keeping the broader market under pressure on concerns about elevated inflation.

Airline stocks, including British-Airways owner IAG, Air France KLM and Lufthansa, fell between 4% and 8% as several international carriers, concerned about higher fuel costs, suspended flight services with Tel Aviv.

Shares of defence companies such as Sweden’s Saab, Italy’s Leonardo and Germany’s Rheinmetall surged between 4% and 9% on the prospect of a prolonged military conflict in the region. However, Webull UK CEO Nick Saunders said the effect on airlines, cruise firms and leisure stocks would be short term, and investors can expect signs of stabilizing in the next month or so.

Energean tumbled 17.6%, making the UK and Israel-listed oil producer the top loser on the STOXX 600. Among other stocks, Siemens Energy added 1.1% after Reuters reported the company is considering shutting down Siemens Gamesa factories and sales offices as part of a review aimed at reducing wind turbine business losses.

Vitesco shares rose 21% to a record high on news that family-controlled Schaeffler AG will launch a tender offer valuing the German powertrain supplier at 3.64 billion euros ($3.83 billion).

The benchmark index marked its third consecutive week of losses on Friday as US government bond yields surged on expectations that interest rates will remain elevated for a prolonged period amid signs of resilience in the world’s largest economy.


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