North Korea standoff wipes $1trn off global stocks

13 August, 2017, 13:41 | Author: Terri Saunders

US stocks headed lower in early trading Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, as traders weighed the growing tensions between the USA and North Korea.

At a briefing on opioid addiction at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., Trump warned North Korea not to make any more threats against the United States, adding that North Korea would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen".

The so-called fear gauge - the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), the most widely followed barometer of expected U.S. stock market volatility, hit its highest since November 8, when Mr Trump was elected president.

Investors' unease over escalating tensions between the US and North Korea had weighed on stocks earlier in the day, pushing gold and bond prices slightly higher.

"For all these variables to move significantly further would require an actual act of hostility - signs that the preparing an attack on North Korea and / or actual launching of missiles by North Korea, for example".

Inflation has risen 1.7 percent over the past 12 months, suggesting that inflation pressures remain well under control.

The Japanese yen hit an eight-week high against the U.S. dollar, while spot gold also reached a two-month high.

The Labor Department said on Friday its Consumer Price Index edged up 0.1 percent in July, which was below the 0.2 percent rise expected by economists polled by Reuters.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 94.55 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 21,954.15, the S&P 500 lost 19.51 points, or 0.79 per cent, to 2,454.51 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 76.39 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 6,275.94.

The influential financial stocks were among the biggest drags on the index, with Royal Bank of Canada down 1.5 percent to C$92.88, and Manulife Financial Corp falling 4.7 per cent to C$24.43, its largest drop since early August past year. Bond and gold prices, traditional havens for nervous investors, were little changed, and the VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, slid 6.7 percent following a 44.4 percent jump the day before.

South Korea's won currency dropped 0.9 percent against the dollar to its lowest close since July 13. Chinese blue chips closed flat but Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.4 percent.

About 7.5 billion shares changed hands on USA exchanges, well above the 6.25 billion average for the last 20 days.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.25 percent from 2.26 percent late Tuesday.

In commodities, US. crude fell 0.67 per cent to $49.23 per barrel and Brent was last at $52.58, down 0.23 per cent on the day.

Shares of U.S. department stores Kohl's and Macy's were weak after their results. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.2 percent.

The Swiss franc last stood at 1.1332 per euro, down slightly on the day. The NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index plunged by 3.4% to its lowest closing level in well over a month.


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