Global shares mostly lower on rising unease over North Korea

Reuters

Flight to safety has helped lift the Japanese yen and gold prices, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an explicit threat on Wednesday to strike a US military base in Guam.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 162.59 points, or 0.74 percent, to 21,886.11, the S&P 500 lost 30.54 points, or 1.23 percent, to 2,443.48 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 116.67 points, or 1.84 percent, to 6,235.66.

Against the Swiss franc, it fared slightly better and was broadly flat on the day at 1.1319 francs per euro.

Copper CMCU3 lost 0.39 percent to $6,455.00 a tonne.

Asian markets finished lower on Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-continue-to-fall-after-wednesdays-selloff-2017-08-09), with losses of over 1% for the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index.

The loss of appetite for risk followed North Korea's claim it was completing plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam in an unusually detailed threat.

Cracks are showing in what has been a virtually non-stop US equity rally after a rapid escalation of tension between North Korea and the United States this week. The number of people who applied for US unemployment-insurance benefits rose by 3,000 to 244,000 in the week that ended August 5, the Labor Department reported.

Kohl's also declined, sliding $2.66, or 6.3 percent, to $39.28. Consumer-focused companies and banks were among the biggest decliners.

Technology companies, which have been the biggest gainers this year as the market hit a succession of record highs, led the broad slide.

Wall Street's fear gauge - the CBOE Volatility Index or the VIX - surged 44%, its second-biggest one-day jump of the year.


OIL: Crude oil gave up early gains.

Worries about increased US-North Korea tension also weighed on the Canadian dollar, which weakened against its US counterpart, despite higher oil prices and stronger-than-expected domestic housing data.

The benchmark USA yield on Thursday was just above 2.2 percent, at its lowest level since late June, as investors bought up Treasuries, a classic safe harbor. TMX Group Ltd was up 3.2 per cent to C$68.02, while Quebecor Inc added 4.3 per cent to C$45.20 and Canadian Tire Corp Ltd climbed 5.7 per cent to C$149.89.

Oil prices rose after a report showed U.S. refineries processed record amounts of crude in the latest week, eating into inventories.

Spot gold added 1.2 per cent to US$1,275.60 an ounce. Humana rose $3.59, or 1.4 percent, to $253.81.

Disappointing economic data releases weighed on both sides of the Atlantic today with a negative goods trade balance for the United Kingdom (-0.1% versus expectations of 1.4%), higher unemployment claims from the USA (244,000) and also a negative month-on-month PPI figure for the U.S. (-0.1%).

The Swiss franc gave up some gains (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/swiss-franc-gives-up-some-gains-as-investors-monitor-us-north-korea-standoff-2017-08-10), as the USA dollar was flat across the board. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 13.20 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,396.95. USA gold futures GCcv1 gained 1.50 percent to $1,281.50 an ounce.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major indexes in Europe slumped. Germany's DAX Index fell 0.6%, the UK's FTSE 100 Index retreated 1.2% and France's CAC 40 Index slid 1.4%.

The Korean won also continued to skid, down 0.45% to 1,147.20/$, falling below its 200-day moving average for the first time in a month. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.5 percent.

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