US STOCKS-Futures shed over 1% after U.S. strike kills Iranian commander

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* Futures tumble: Dow 1.2%, S&P 1.4%, Nasdaq 1.6%

Jan 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures shed over 1% on Friday after a U.S. air strike in Iraq killed a top Iranian commander, sharply escalating geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and denting risk appetite.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed harsh revenge after Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was killed in the air strike in Baghdad that was authorized by President Donald Trump.

At 5:50 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 347 points, or 1.2%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 44 points, or 1.35% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 139.75 points, or 1.57%.

The news sent prices of perceived safe haven assets soaring, with gold up 1.3%.

Shares of oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp rose 1.3% and 1.2%, respectively, in early premarket trading as oil prices jumped more than 4%.

Occidental Petroleum Corp and Schlumberger rose about 2% each, leading premarket gains among S&P 500-listed stocks. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)