Swiss Franc Consolidates After Rallying Hard on North Korea Tensions

12 August, 2017, 05:59 | Author: Pamela Mathis

Gold got an extra boost after data showed U.S. consumer prices rose less than expected in July, pointing to benign inflation that could make the Federal Reserve cautious about raising interest rates again this year. The S&P shed 1.4%, its worst week since March, while the Nasdaq posted a weekly loss of 1.5%, its worst since June.

In other corporate results, a number of companies reported forecast-beating numbers.

Subdued U.S. inflation has stirred doubts about the chances of another Fed interest rate hike this year, which have weighed on the dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan skidded 1.2 percent in its third session of declines, heading for a 2.1 percent drop for the week.

U.S. President Donald Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric toward North Korea on Thursday, saying the reclusive communist country should be "very, very nervous" if it even thinks about attacking the United States or its allies. Should losses extend after markets open, it will mark Wall Street's fourth day in a row and the Dow's retreat from a record-making stretch at the beginning of the week that extended nine days.

Gold has rallied 2.3% this week on the heels of renewed tension with North Korea.

At 11:03 a.m. ET (1503 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 110.36 points, or 0.5 percent, at 21,938.34, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 19.12 points, or 0.77 percent, at 2,454.90.

Shares of Kohl's were down 8.4%, while Macy's fell 4% after the department store operators reported a fall in sales. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 percent to 3,275.57 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was off 0.3 percent at 27,757.09. "This is mainly due to the fact that in the event of a crisis involving the U.S. directly, investors are more likely to seek refuge in an asset like gold which bears no country risk and also benefits when the dollar depreciates", Gambarini writes.

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USA stocks fell sharply on Thursday, with the Dow slipping more than 100 points, as lackluster results from retailers Macy's and Kohl's added to investor nervousness over escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.

The yen on Friday added to a strong weekly rally against the dollar of close to 1.5 per cent, hitting its highest versus the greenback in nearly four months, at 108.73 yen.

Currency traders consolidated positions in the Japanese yen and Swiss franc, and nudged up the dollar index by unwinding some of the recent big bets on the euro.

Earlier, the dollar slipped as low as 108.91 yen, its weakest level since June 14, when the greenback fell as low as 108.81 yen.

The biggest fallers were G4S down 24.7p to 305.9p, Standard Chartered down 20.9p to 783.1p, Prudential down 44p to 1,841.5p, Shire down 92p to 3,945p.

But losses soon resumed, with Tokyo edging down as the Nikkei again came under pressure from the strength of the safe-haven yen, which hit eight-week highs Wednesday against the dollar.

The data comes amid tepid inflation that has remained below the Fed's 2% target, despite low unemployment.

After touching a more than two-month high at US$1,291.86, spot gold last added 0.2 per cent to US$1,288.81 an ounce. It was on course for a weekly rise of about 5%, the biggest such gain since July 2016. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, added 26 cents to $52.96.



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