Asian markets fall again as North Korea tensions continue

South Korean stocks aren’t perturbed by the nearby geopolitical

South Korean stocks aren’t perturbed by the nearby geopolitical

Worries over a potential confrontation between the United States and North Korea weighed heavily on global stock markets on Wednesday but helped boost the price of assets, such as gold and the Swiss franc, that are considered safe havens in times of geopolitical peril.

The S&P/TSX composite index fell 143.08 points to 15,074.25, with almost all of its sectors moving lower. "So we're not going to get to a year-over-year number of 2-percent until some of these very low readings drop out of the statistics 6 to 10 months from now". The Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. The pan-European benchmark on Wednesday fell 0.7% in a sell-off prompted by tensions between the USA and North Korea escalated.

Nervous investors drove shares lower earlier in the week, after President Trump declared Tuesday that the USA would react with "fire and fury" to further nuclear provocations from North Korea.

Technology companies led a broad slide in USA stocks Thursday afternoon, putting the market on track for its biggest loss in two months.

The dollar last changed hands at 108.96 yen, down 0.2 percent.

Outside the political arena, declines in a pair of technology stocks added to the cautious tone on the day. Germany's DAX fell 1.1 per cent, while the CAC 40 in France lost 0.6 per cent. Britain's FTSE 100 sank 1.4 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged by 2%, while South Korea's Kospi Index slumped by 1.7%.

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, who has advocated for the Fed to halt interest rate hikes until inflation picks up gain, on Friday said his colleagues are telling each other "a ghost story (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-kashkari-says-central-banks-hawks-are-spooked-by-ghost-story-of-higher-wages-2017-08-11)" about higher wage inflation that scared them into raising short-term rates.

Many world stock markets have hit record or multiyear highs in recent weeks, leaving them vulnerable to a sell-off, and the tensions over North Korea proved to be the trigger.

"The level which we are looking at now is $1,300".

Another source of support to bullion was data showing US producer prices unexpectedly fell in July, pointing to a further moderation in inflation that could delay a Federal Reserve interest rate increase.

The Korean won also continued to skid, sliding 0.4 percent to 1,146.2, below its 200-day moving average. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, dipped by 2.3 basis points to 2.189%.

Spot gold inched down 0.1 percent to $1,284.64 per ounce as of 0616 GMT, but was set for a weekly gain of over 2 percent.

THE QUOTE: "Risk-averse sentiment is dominating global equities markets, and US indices have retraced from record levels over the last two days".

Markets remained concerned over the risk of a United States first-strike against North Korean nuclear facilities.

USA crude rose 0.41 percent to $48.79 per barrel and Brent was last at $52.01, up 0.21 percent.

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