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FTSE ends down as shares hit by US-North Korea tensions

12 August 2017

The S&P 500 index had its biggest one-day drop in nearly three months on Thursday as investors fled riskier assets, with technology stocks leading the charge, in response to an increasingly aggressive exchange of threats between the United States and North Korea.

On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 3.11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,441.32. The Dow is up 48.61 points or 0.2% at 21,892.62, the Nasdaq is up 35.83 points or 0.6% at 6,252.71 and the S&P 500 is up 7.77 points or 0.3% at 2,445.98.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the day with a decline of 1 percent from the previous close. Germany's DAX fell 1.1 per cent, while the CAC 40 in France lost 0.6 per cent. Britain's FTSE 100 sank 1.4 per cent. All the indexes are down for the week.

In a note sent to clients late on Thursday, the USA bank predicted the single currency would rise to $1.25 in the first quarter of next year and reach parity with sterling for the first time.

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"Traders should closely watch global equities today, with further falls and risk aversion likely pumping more safe-haven flows into precious metals", said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA. The stock came in under pressure after a decline in the number of visitors during the first half of this year and a reduction in earnings forecast for the whole year. Utilities eked out a small gain. "For now, the North Korea situation bears watching, as there's lots of tough talk, but we'll see if it escalates", said Mr Kinahan.

Such tensions remained high, with North Korea's state media saying on Thursday that North Korea will develop a plan by mid-August to launch intermediate-range missiles at the USA territory of Guam.

Markets have a lot of ground to make up after an increasingly heated war of words between President Donald Trump and North Korea's leadership sent the markets into a tailspin.

In bond markets, the yield on US Treasuries fell, also pressured by the lowered expectations for a Fed move. "Profit-taking as opposed to a deeper retreat", said Stephen Innes, head of trading in Asia-Pacific for OANDA in Singapore. "I don't see it as a fear-driven sell-off". Top automaker Hyundai Motor fell 2.07 percent to 142,000 won.

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FINANCIALS FALLING: Several financial sector companies also helped pull down the market.

Nevsun Resources Ltd offset some of the material group's gains, plunging 18.4 percent to C$2.685 after the company reported disappointing quarterly results.

Palladium climbed 1.1 per cent to $900.85 per ounce. "Indeed, the biggest increases in the price of gold have occurred when the United States bombed Libya in 1986, in the wake of the Gulf War in 1990, and, more recently, when ISIS attacks put oil supplies in the Middle East at risk".

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FTSE ends down as shares hit by US-North Korea tensions