TANGIBLE INVESTMENTS - Los Angeles - by James O'Dell - Gold and Silver prices turned lower on Friday with Gold easing nearly 1 percent on profit taking to $1,307.00 an ounce, and Silver retreating to $20.81 an ounce amid escalating geopolitical tensions as world-leaders call for a cease-fire in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. The break in the fighting will allow international investigators access to the crash site of the Malaysian Airlines jetliner shot down on Thursday.
Heightened tensions dominate market concerns ahead of the weekend, says Brown Brothers Harriman. “The shooting down of the Malaysian plane over Ukraine and Israel's launch of a ground assault in Gaza dominate the focus,” added BBH. President Obama has called for a credible investigation into the downing of the Malaysian passenger plane, saying "The eyes of the world are on eastern Ukraine, and we are going to make sure that the truth is out."
In Israel, reports of an escalation of the Israeli ground assault and air strikes on the Gaza Strip saw stock markets around the world extend losses, while safe-haven assets like Gold are rising. After 10 days of aerial bombardment 260 Palestinians have been killed with nearly 2,000 wounded, while one Israeli civilian has also been killed. Israel's ground incursion began on Thursday with widespread leaflet drops warning Palestinian residents to evacuate their homes.
The operation stretched the entire length of Israel's 36 mile long border with Gaza, according to the Israeli military. Friday morning saw 17 Palestinian fighters and one Israeli soldier dead, although the Israeli death was likely due to friendly-fire, said the Israeli military.
In Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) rebels circulated pamphlets to Christian leaders in Mosul this week, warning Christians that they must convert to Islam or pay extra taxes, and failure to do so would result in "death by the sword." ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said non-conforming Christians would be permitted to leave by 12 p.m. local time on Saturday or their "only option is the sword."
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