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Markets jittery over North Korea as United Kingdom trade deficit widens

11 August 2017

The stage was set for the US indexes to go lower early Wednesday as investors around the world reacted to the rising war of words between the USA and North Korea, pushing global market indexes lower.

With President Donald Trump warning North Korea of "fire and fury", investors have become concerned that the war of words between Washington and Pyongyang could spiral out of control. The Dow is up 34.62 points or 0.2% at 21,878.63, the Nasdaq is up 25.62 points or 0.4% at 6,242.49 and the S&P 500 is up 4.36 points or 0.2% at 2,442.57.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX was down 1 percent, while France's CAC 40 fell 1.4 percent.

Many world stock markets have hit record or multi-year highs in recent weeks, leaving them vulnerable to a sell-off, and the tensions over North Korea have proved the trigger.

Geopolitical risks can boost demand for assets considered safe-haven investments, such as gold.

Meanwhile, gold demand in India remained sluggish this week as local prices jumped to their highest level in almost three months and a rally in global prices dampened fresh buying elsewhere in Asia.

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Data storage company Seagate Technology (STX) is posting a standout gain within the hardware sector, climbing by 2.1%.

In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 78.71 cents United States, down 0.20 of a USA cent.

Australian shares were down 1.3 per cent, set for a weekly loss of 0.6 per cent and Chinese and Hong Kong bluechips lost 1.6 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively.

The dollar edged up about 0.1 percent to 110.16 yen, up from Wednesday's low of 109.56 yen, which was the dollar's lowest level since June 15.

Shaun Osborn from Scotiabank said, "The yen is the big story really".

Market jitters from the escalating geopolitical tensions between the USA and North Korea have brought Gold back into fashion this week, with the yellow metal hitting a fresh two-month high above $1288, during early hours on Friday. The dollar index, which measures its strength against a basket of currencies, gained 0.1 percent to 93.490.

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According to analyst Simona Gambarini, the price of gold "tends to rise in anticipation of a conflict but often falls when tensions turn into a full-blown war". Bitcoin was trading 4.8 percent lower on Wednesday at $3,257. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was almost flat at 2,474.02.

The Nasdaq Composite Index, the hardest hit equity gauge on Thursday, climbed 36 points, or 0.6%, to 6,252. The euro fell to $1.1728 from $1.1757.

US producer prices unexpectedly recorded their biggest drop in almost a year, and the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week.

Japanese stocks were flat in choppy trade on Thursday morning as geopolitical concerns over North Korea's threats of missile strikes receded، Reuters reported.

United States equities had been on track for a 10th-straight record session Tuesday and the dollar was initially up after the JOLTS survey showed job openings hit a record in the U.S. last month. Wells Fargo still ended up 0.3 percent at United States dollars 52.71.

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Markets jittery over North Korea as United Kingdom trade deficit widens