North Korea nerves rattle world stocks, lift gold, yen

Michael Kors store in Edinburgh

Michael Kors store in Edinburgh Source

"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 CBOE Volatility Index, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term market volatility, was up as much as 12.63 points, its highest in more than a month. Some 40 of the stocks in the index had fallen, with seven unchanged and just three up.

North Korea said it was completing plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam in an unusually detailed threat that further heightened tensions with the United States.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average.DJI closed down 204.69 points, or 0.93 percent, at 21,844.01, the S&P 500.SPX lost 35.81 points, or 1.45 percent, to end the session at 2,438.21 and the Nasdaq Composite.IXIC fell 135.46 points, or 2.13 percent, to 6,216.87. -North Korea tensions. The VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, jumped 25.2 percent, the biggest increase since May.

"With European, U.S. and Asian markets all suffering heavily in anticipation of a potential conflict in Asia, it is worthwhile noting that we have heard similar posturing between Trump and Kim Jong Un before", said Mahony.

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Overseas markets were also lower Wednesday.

'Of course, it's all come at a time when share markets are due for a correction, so North Korea has provided a ideal trigger'.

The euro was 0.45 percent weaker at 129.125 yen and the Australian dollar slipped 0.7 percent to 86.66 yen. Kohl's also declined, giving up $2.43, or 5.8 percent, to $39.50.

In other news, USA wholesale inflation dropped in July, the first contraction in almost a year and another data point that could weaken the case for the Federal Reserve to raise the benchmark interest rate again later this year.

Meantime, on the commodity front oil prices fell 2 per cent while gold has maintained its two month high. Netflix lost 1.5 percent.

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In June, at least three Afghan border police officers were killed in United States airstrikes in Helmand province. It came after a USA airstrike in Sangin killed at least 18 civilians, mostly women and children, in February.

The dollar was testing the 109 yen barrier in morning forex trade, while gold, another classic safe haven asset, was trading at around $1,285 per ounce, up more than two percent this week.

With Asian bourses and US stock futures weakening early on Wednesday, the safe-haven 10-year Treasury yield was last down 3 basis points.

With foreigners continuing their net selling, concerns are rising that KOSPI's support level may drop further amid escalating geopolitical risks stemming from North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

"The euro has become more correlated to risk in recent weeks and sentiment is still a bit cautious though the euro upside trend is likely to remain intact over the longer term", said Manuel Oliveri, an FX strategist at Credit Agricole in London. Brent crude, used to price global oils, slid 80 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $51.90.

The precious metal enjoyed a 2.2% rise to $1292 per ounce, close to its high for the year.

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