Political tensions continue to weigh on world stocks

13 August, 2017, 05:11 | Author: Terri Saunders

United Kingdom stocks headed sharply lower again on Friday, as the escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea rattled investors and helped drive a global selloff, MarketWatch reports.

Traders reacted with dismay to his fresh warning Thursday that his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on the reclusive nuclear-armed state may not have been "tough enough".

Wall Street stocks posted their biggest declines in almost three months Thursday as President Donald Trump doubled down on his warnings to North Korea over its nuclear program.

"Since these are the stocks that have been in the spotlight the most, they tend to have the most volatility upwards and downwards", said Chris Bertelsen, chief investment officer of Aviance Capital Management in Sarasota, Florida.

The S&P 500 has hadn't a single day move of more than 0.5 percent since mid-July and has fallen more than 1 percent only twice this year.

At 9:34 a.m. ET (1334 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 54.06 points, or 0.25%, at 21 898.07, the S&P 500 was up 5.23 points, or 0.21%, at 2 443.44.

"Absent actual military action, I think the markets will realize that the rhetoric got head of the actual policy and it is time to calm down a little bit", McMillan said.

Investors instead turned to safe-haven assets such as gold, pushing it to a two-month high, and the Japanese yen rose.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 37.30 points, or 0.59%, at 6,315.03.

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Five of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the technology's 0.80 percent rise leading the advancers.

Shares of Macy's tumbled 8.3 percent and Kohl's 7.3 percent after the department store operators reported a drop in quarterly same-store sales that stoked concerns that their turnaround may still be a long way off.

The Russian dollar-traded index RTS was down 1.49 percent, and ruble-traded MICEX fell 1.29 percent by midday.

On the USA economic front, a report released by the Labor Department showed a modest uptick in consumer prices in the U.S.in the month of July.

JC Penney slumped 16.56% to a record low after the retailer reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.

USA government bonds strengthened Friday as soft inflation data led investors to further scale back expectations for interest-rate increases from the Federal Reserve.

Perrigo surged 17.6 percent after the drugmaker raised its full-year adjusted profit forecast.

Selling was broad. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE 6-to-1; on Nasdaq, a 3.60-to-1 ratio favored decliners. On the Nasdaq, 1 378 issues rose and 892 fell.

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