Stocks stumbled out of the gate as ongoing carnage in the Middle East fueled global protests. Gold is jumping along with crude oil, while Treasuries and the dollar are flattish.

On the news front...

Tensions flared throughout the Middle East after an explosion at a Palestinian hospital killed hundreds of people. Israel blamed an errant Palestinian rocket for the carnage, while Palestinian officials blamed Israel. President Biden sided with Israel during his visit to the country today. Other Arab leaders who were planning to meet with the president in Amman, Jordan, canceled those plans due to the unrest.

While a handful of financial stocks reported solid earnings, Morgan Stanley (MS) did not. Shares of the investment bank plunged today after wealth-management revenue missed estimates and net new assets sank. On the flip side, consumer products giant Procter & Gamble (PG) reported better-than-expected fiscal Q1 results thanks to price increases and solid organic sales growth. Its shares rose modestly on the news.

Choice Hotels (CHH) went public with an almost-$8 billion bid to acquire competitor Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (WH) after the firm rejected its takeover offer. The $90-per-share, cash-and-stock offer was a 30% premium to WH shares, but Wyndham said it was “underwhelming, highly conditional, and subject to significant business, regulatory, and execution risk.”

If the companies ultimately find a deal they can agree on, it would create a juggernaut in the budget hotel space. Wyndham has 24 brands under its corporate umbrella, including Super8 and Days Inn, while Choice Hotels includes Quality Inn, Radisson, and EconoLodge.