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North Korea Has Markets Nervous But Not Panicked

14 August 2017

The euro eased 0.1 per cent to $1.1766, staying below a high of around $1.1910 set last week, the euro's strongest level in 2-1/2 years. -North Korea tensions and the weak data that further reduced expectations of an interest rate hike in December.

Emerging market stocks lost 1.20 percent. The selling carried through Wednesday's premarket session, with US stock futures falling slightly.

Falling crude prices made oil & gas stocks a weight too, dropping 1 percent with Tullow Oil the top faller.

However, an Associated Press report that the US and North Korea have been engaged in back channel talks (https://apnews.com/686ac7c761694b28b67793a1d8297145?link=mktw) for several months even as they exchange incendiary threats helped to soothe some of the jitters.

Shortly after this announcement, North Korea said it was "carefully examining" the idea of a missile strike on Guam, a U.S. Pacific territory, Reuters reported citing the North's state-run KCNA.

At 9.37am ET (1337 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 49.62 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 22,035.72, the S&P 500 was down 8.01 points, or 0.32 per cent, at 2,466.91.

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Friday caps a week dogged by escalating tension between the US and North Korea which culminated with President Donald Trump stating that his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea "maybe wasn't tough enough".

Disney shares closed down 3.9 percent as investors were skeptical of its plan to launch streaming services rather than rely on Netflix. On the Nasdaq, 1,440 issues fell and 1,386 advanced.

"A global stock market fund will have its fair share of value and growth companies, unlike -say- the FTSE 100 index which is predominately value-orientated with its bias towards energy, mining and financial, or the Japanese TOPIX which is growth-orientated with a predominance of consumer goods companies".

Sterling was last trading at $1.3007, up 0.25 percent on the day.

Trump's threat earlier this week, to unleash "fire and fury" on Pyongyang if it attacked, was ultimately dismissed as bluster by many investors. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 0.9 basis point to 1.824 percent and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds shed 1.4 basis points to 2.024 percent.

The Korean won continued to fall versus the dollar, down 0.13 per cent to 1,143.5 yesterday for a 1.6 per cent decline on the week.

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"If the data continues to come in on the softer side, the market might start to price the Fed staying on hold this year", said Sireen Harajli, FX strategist at Mizuho in NY.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher.

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

Markets had seen a tentative recovery in risk appetite in USA and early Asian trading, but as the war of words resumed Asian stocks dropped back and London, Frankfurt and Paris all lost 0.5-1.2 per cent.

The local currency closed at 1,142.00 won against the USA dollar, down 6.80 won from the previous session's close.

Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with the technology's 0.36 percent rise leading the advancers.

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North Korea Has Markets Nervous But Not Panicked