Stocks tumble on North Korea worries

Monthly U.S. inflation readings should rise, even while it takes longer for the annual measures preferred by the Fed to rebound, New York Fed President William Dudley said.

Reuters data show a 22 per cent perceived chance for a rate hike after the Fed's December meeting. The index closed at 16.04 overnight, the highest level since November 8, when Trump was elected president.

The threat followed U.S. President Donald Trump's warning on Tuesday that any threats by Pyongyang would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen".

Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric against North Korea and its leader on Thursday, warning Pyongyang against attacking Guam or U.S. allies after it disclosed plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.2 percent. Titled "Reckless game over the Korean Peninsula runs risk of real war", the editorial suggested China will stay neutral if North Korea strikes first, but will intervene if the U.S.is the first mover.

On Friday, stocks recovered slightly, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.2%.

Chinese bluechips lost 0.75 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 1.6 percent lower.

"The level which we are looking at now is $1,300".

"Pretty remarkable, perhaps even extraordinary, considering", said Tim Ash, strategist at fund manager BlueBay.

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

Investors again sought safe-haven assets such as gold and the Swiss franc, helping gold hit a more two-month high.

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South Korea's KOSPI fell 1.7 percent on Friday to its lowest since May 24, but its losses for the week were a relatively modest 3.2 percent.

Traders took heart in a measure of USA consumer prices that increased only slightly in July, pointing to benign inflation that could make the Federal Reserve cautious about raising interest rates again this year. "If you look at the gold price after the CPI (inflation) data, it tells you that the Fed is not going to be in any rush to increase the interest rate this year", said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets.

The Korean won also continued to fall, down 0.45 percent to 1,147.2.

Sterling was last trading at $1.3013, up 0.30 percent on the day.

The euro fell a quarter-of-a-percent against the dollar to trade at $1.1728 as European markets opened.

"There are four more (inflation) prints between now and the December FOMC meeting and we expect the Fed to remain data-dependent, if a touch more cautious", TD Securities said in a research note. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, dipped by 2.3 basis points to 2.189%.

US producer prices unexpectedly fell in July, recording their biggest drop in almost a year, while another set showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week.

An Associated Press report that the USA and North Korea have been engaged in back channel talks (https://apnews.com/686ac7c761694b28b67793a1d8297145?link=mktw) for several months even as they exchange incendiary threats may also help to soothe jitters.

US crude futures extended losses from Thursday, when they plunged 2 percent on fears of slowing demand and lingering concerns over a global oversupply.

CURRENCIES: The euro was down 0.1 percent at $1.175 while the dollar fell 0.6 percent to 109.68 yen.

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