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Nikkei extends losses on geopolitical tension over North Korea

15 August 2017

Brent crude, the worldwide benchmark, was last down 30 cents at $50.43 a barrel.

The yen on Friday added to a strong weekly rally against the dollar of close to 1.5 per cent, hitting its highest versus the greenback in nearly four months, at 108.73 yen.

USA stocks edged higher on Friday, but that wasn't enough to offset large weekly declines.

In Asia, MSCI's broadest index excluding Japan rose 0.8%, largely unaffected by a slew of activity data from China that was softer than forecast, though still largely solid.

"What North Korea has done is given gold the legs to go above the $1,300 level and sustain above that level", Chirag Sheth, an analyst at Metals Focus Ltd told Bloomberg, going on to say he could see gold surpass $1,400.

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United States stocks rebounded on Monday, reversing some of the losses that were triggered last week by rising tensions between the USA and North Korea.

"Although more aggressive rhetoric between the USA and North officials would temporarily boost gold prices, we see outright military action as unlikely and upward pressure on gold prices stemming from the confrontation as limited", analysts at BMI research said in a note.

On the main section on Tuesday, 1,650.80 million shares changed hands, dropping from Monday's volume of 1,959.11 million shares. The underlying gauge finished up 1 per cent on Monday, when the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.3 per cent.

Japanese investors also repatriated cash held overseas. The USD/CHF is down 0.04% at 0.9718 Swiss Francs, slipping off the session peak of 0.97586 Swiss Francs. Asia-focused lender Standard Chartered (LON:STAN) is now leading the sector higher, having added 0.32 percent to 771.20p.

Higher U.S. yields also gave the dollar a lift.

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The Japanese data was interpreted by some as another sign that the global economy is indeed on the mend, with possible consequences for central banks' easy-credit policies.

US stock index futures pointed to a strong open on Monday boosted by a solid performance seen from worldwide markets as geopolitical tensions ease.

The UK benchmark index has kicked off the week on an upbeat note, finding support in financials, and regaining some ground following last week's stocks selloff fuelled by tensions between the USA and North Korea.

Meanwhile, shares of Ansell tumbled 2.88 percent after the rubber products manufacturer announced full-year profit fell 7.2 percent and missed estimates, Reuters reported. In the United States the Federal Reserve will release the minutes of last month's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. But economists do not expect a hard landing, with the government keen to ensure stability ahead of a Communist Party leadership reshuffle in the autumn.

Crude oil futures steadied after tumbling more than 2.5% on Monday in volatile trade.

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Last week, the North said a plan was being drawn up to fire four missiles into the sea off Guam, where USA bombers are based. Moon in a speech Tuesday also said resolving the North Korean threat could begin with freezing its nuclear weapons program.

On commodities markets, the safe haven asset gold was trading at about $1,275 an ounce, down from $1,292 reached last Friday.

Nikkei extends losses on geopolitical tension over North Korea