Many world stock markets have hit record or multi-year highs in recent weeks, leaving them vulnerable to a sell-off, and the tensions have proved the trigger.
A batch of disappointing earnings results from big retail chains and simmering tensions between the US and North Korea weighed on the market.
NEW YORK, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Wall Street put a floor under global equities on Friday after a weak inflation reading brought investors back into USA stocks even as tensions between the United States and North Korea continued to escalate, though the geopolitical fears still drove safe-haven buying of gold and the yen.
The yen has also registered its biggest weekly gain since May against the dollar amid speculation that investors of Japan, as the biggest creditor nation, would repatriate their funds should a war break out.
The dollar index.DXY, which tracks the greenback against six rival currencies, was down 0.17 percent to 93.391.
Early in the day, North Korea revealed a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers.
In forex trading, the dollar fetched 109.99 yen, almost flat from 110.02 yen in NY but up slightly from 109.74 yen in Tokyo Wednesday.
Geopolitics aside, investors would also focus on U.S. economic data and monetary policy, with inflation data being released and two Federal Reserve policymakers making an appearance, Erlam said.
Gold added $16.70, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $1,279.30 an ounce.
"We have not had a 5 percent correction since June 2016". The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 2.0 basis points to 1.804 percent and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds shed 2.0 basis points to 2.004 percent.
Elsewhere in commodities, the September crude contract was up 39 cents to US$49.56 per barrel, September natural gas advanced six cents at US$2.88 per mmBTU and the September copper contract declined two cents at US$2.93 a pound.
"Bearing in mind how well risk assets have performed this year, and how low volatility is, it unsurprising that this increased geopolitical risk has caused some pull back", Andrew Bresler, deputy head of sales trading for Asia Pacific at Saxo Capital Markets Ltd.
And with that, the S&P 500's steak of 58 days without a 1% move in either direction came to an end.
The euro was 0.14 percent higher against the dollar. The move added to escalating U.S. Over the next three months, the average gain has been good but not great - +1.15%.
Traders will also get the opportunity to respond to fresh USA consumer inflation data on Friday.
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