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Stocks plunge amid growing North Korean-US tensions, gold continues rise

12 August 2017

Tensions between the US and North Korea saw market participants looking for safe havens - like the Switzerland franc.

Wall Street stocks posted their biggest declines in almost three months late Thursday as US President Donald Trump doubled down on his warnings to North Korea over its nuclear program. Markets in greater China mirrored the slide in global equities.

Trump continued to ramp up the rhetoric with a post on Twitter this morning indicating that the prepared to take military action against North Korea.

The North Korean leadership is claiming that within the next month it will demonstrate its nuclear arsenal by firing missiles around the waters surrounding Guam, a strategic USA territory and military complex in the Pacific due south of Japan and South Korea. When the rest of the world panics over North Korea, South Koreans tend to shrug. The index had its biggest drop since mid-May a day earlier. On the Nasdaq, 1 378 issues rose and 892 fell. Elsewhere in Asia Hong Kong share prices fell on tensions on the Korean peninsula but shares in property companies rose on a spinoff plan by a local developer. Last week, the Dow broke above 22,000 for the first time.

Gains among technology companies helped snap a three-day losing streak for USA stocks Friday, though the market ended with its worst weekly loss since March. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was down 1.13%. Gold is higher, but is not translating into support for materials.

USA stock futures were marginally softer.

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Five of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the leader technology index.SPLRCT up 0.4 percent.

Oil is in retreat for a third successive day but traders pout that down to doubts over OPEC's ability to rein in supply.

"Markets are looking for any reason at all for a reset". However, OPEC was short on details.

The Dow closed down 205 points Thursday, in its biggest decline since May 17, after U.S. President Donald Trump rejected criticism that his threats to release "fire and fury" had been too inflammatory.

"More likely than anything else, the price action was a function of an overextended USA equity market that has been in need for a healthy correction off record highs", LMAX Exchange analysts said in a morning note. Investors dipped back into stocks and retreated from assets they consider to be safer stores of value, such as gold.

It stood 0.16 percent down on the day at 109.03 yen per dollar by 1047 GMT.

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In the U.K, issuance of new Gilts is scheduled to resume August 23. Weaker U.S. Treasury yields also helped the yen.

The medium-term outlook depends on the BoE - Governor Carney and company is expected to find it hard to hike policy rate given the downside risks to growth.

The Dow and S&P 500 clinched record closes on Monday, Aug. 7, marking the 35th all-time high for the Dow this year, a streak not seen since the 38 record closes in 2014. The rand rallied Monday given expectations that Zuma's eight-year term will be voted out in a secret ballot.

The U.S. dollar fell to 110.48 yen from 110.72 yen late Monday.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices still crept up by 0.1% in July, matching the increases seen in the three previous months. Thursday's producer-price index came out tepid, analysts said. This article is for general information purposes only.

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