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USA stocks fall again on North Korea tensions

14 August 2017

Later on Friday, investors will look to US July consumer price data for hints on the Federal Reserve's policy outlook and near-term moves in the dollar.

At 12:43 p.m. ET (1643 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 49.69 points, or 0.23 percent, at 21,893.7 and the S&P 500 was up 6.84 points, or 0.28 percent, at 2,445.05. The Nasdaq composite gained 39 points, or 0.6 percent, to 6,255.

Stocks ended more than one percent down in Seoul while the won slumped to a three-week low against the dollar as the United States president and South Korea´s volatile neighbour dramatically ramped up their war of words.

"This situation is beginning to develop into this generation's Cuban Missile crisis moment, with recent leaked intelligence reports alleging that North Korea now has miniaturised its nuclear warheads, which extends the range of its missiles, and potentially brings United States targets into reach", ING's chief Asia economist Robert Carnell said in a research note on Friday.

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THE QUOTE: While the tough talk about the potential for nuclear war is scary, investors have heard it many times before.

"Much of the rally (in gold) is because of the increased safe-haven demand", said OCBC Bank analyst Barnabas Gan. "I have a feeling that by the end of the week, we'll feel this was just another blip on the radar". Onex Corp dropped 4.7 percent to C$95.75 after mixed revisions by security analysts to the ratings on the private equity company's stock, while Bank of Montreal declined 1.1 percent to C$92.01. Macy's sank 10.3 percent and Kohl's lost 5.8 percent.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. backtracked 2.14 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. was down 3.26 percent.

Trump's remarks on Tuesday afternoon that North Korea would face "fire and fury like the world has never seen" weighed on Wall Street and drove up the VIX "fear gauge", or the cost of protection against a drop in the S&P 500. The stock fell $1.01 to $22.02. The company booked a hefty charge and said its CFO is leaving the company.

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The last time the S&P closed down more than 1 percent was May 17 when it fell 1.8 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.6 percent lower. Canada's 10-year yield on Friday touched its lowest intraday level in almost a month at 1.837 percent. Economists had expected prices to rise by 0.2%.

US Treasury yields fell to as low as 2.197 per cent, their lowest level since June 28 overnight.

Silver futures for September delivery on the Comex rose 2.9 per cent, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since November.

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