Investors also have history on their side as previous U.S.-Iran crises have seldom led to a prolonged market downturn. Data from Barclays shows the S&P 500 averages a gain of nearly 3% three months after a confrontation between the two countries. That average gain grows to 5.5% after six month.

Boeing shares were down 2% in premarket trading. A Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 airliner burst into flames shortly after take-off from Tehran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people aboard in a crash that an initial report blamed on engine failure. Ukrainian officials later said, however, that the cause of the crash was yet to be determined.

Gold futures for February delivery were up by 0.2%; earlier the metal broke above the $1,600 mark for the first time since 2013 as investors clamored for a safe haven.

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