GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks tumble on Egypt unrest, oil jumps

Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:09pm EST
* Stocks hit as Middle East unrest feared
* Oil gets boost, Treasuries and gold too
* Dollar, Swiss franc benefit from flight to safety (Updates with
U.S. markets close)
By Al Yoon

NEW YORK, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Stock markets around the world
slumped, crude oil prices surged and the dollar gained on
Friday as images of escalating violence and chaos in Egypt
gripped investors and raised concerns the protests will spread
across the Middle East.

Money managers, who in recent months had been accelerating
moves into riskier assets, dumped stocks and piled into
safe-haven investments like U.S. Treasuries, the dollar and
gold as non-stop media coverage of skirmishes between
protesters and Egyptian police overwhelmed all other news.
Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index suffered its biggest
one-day loss in six months.

Some said the sudden eruption of violence could spur a
longer-term sell-off after a strong rally in riskier assets
like stocks and emerging markets.

"I think the next two to three weeks, the crisis in Egypt
and potentially across the Middle East might be an excuse for a
big sell-off of 5 percent to 10 percent," Keith Wirtz,
president and chief investment officer at Fifth Third Asset
Management in Cincinnati.

Traders and investors fear the protests could spread across
the oil-rich region and lead to disruptions to Middle East
commerce. Global political pressure could also heat up because
of the security threat posed to Israel by deepening instability
to a key regional ally.