ibusinesslines.com March 19, 2018

Jittery stock markets fall amid global tension over North Korea

10 August 2017, 05:49 | Jodi Jackson

US stocks closed barely down on Wednesday as investors appeared to turn their focus away from North Korea-related geopolitical tension that weighed on equities for most of the session.

Mounting tensions between the USA and North Korea have weighed on equity markets, sending the majority of the Asian and European bourses into red territory and inducing a spike in volatility. In response, safe-haven assets such as the yen, Swiss franc and gold strengthened overnight.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,467.

The Dow closed down 33 points, at 22,085.34.

"We've had some competing forces play out over the past 12 hours - the USA dollar was stronger off economic data, but that was quickly reversed with President Trump's comments about North Korea earlier today (Wednesday)", said ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes.

Gold prices rose early Wednesday amid rising tensions between the United States and North Korea after the latter responded to warnings from US President Donald Trump with a threat to strike the US Pacific territory of Guam.

Reports early on Tuesday indicated that North Korea was able to build nuclear bombs small enough to fit on a missile. Its shares slid $9.77, or 5.3 percent, to $174.02. The stock lost $5.41 to $101.57. On the Nasdaq, 1,846 issues fell and 953 advanced favoring decliners. Rival TripAdvisor also slumped after its latest quarterly report showed that online and transaction revenue growth fell sharply.

US equivalents fell 3 bps to 2.25 percent. The company booked a hefty charge and said its CFO is leaving the company. Walt Disney stock paced the 14 losers, dropping 3.9%, while McDonald's finished flat. Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 1.29%, followed by the Hang Seng index that fell 0.36% and the Shanghai Composite index that dropped 0.03%.

Among the financials, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank dropped between 0.6 percent and 1.4 percent.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index advanced 0.2%.

BONDS: Bond prices rose.

The 10-year notes last fell 3/32 in price to yield 2.2655 percent, from 2.257 percent late on Monday.

METALS: Gold, a traditional safe haven play, was moving higher.

Sterling was little changed at $1.3 and near a 2-1/2-week low, as investors looked to key data due next week for clues on the health of the British economy as the country prepares to leave the European Union.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 11.11) gained 0.2 point, or 1.4%.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 21 cents to $49.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the worldwide standard, lost 23 cents to $52.14 a barrel in London. The U.S. currency was down 0.3 percent at 109.980 yen, following a retreat to 109.740, its weakest since June 15.

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