Investors seek safety as N. Korea tension escalates; stocks off, gold up

Friday, 11 Aug, 2017

More than 430 stocks from all USA exchanges hit their lowest levels in 52 weeks or more on Thursday, the most for any session since mid-November right after Trump was elected. Banks and department store shares also were among the big decliners.

USA equities steepened their losses late in the session after President Donald Trump said his earlier warnings to North Korea may not have been tough enough. Oil prices veered lower as early gains faded.

Meanwhile, market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 0.82 percent to 2,295,000 won, and top automaker Hyundai Motor was down 0.68 percent to 145,000 won.

Asian markets finished lower on Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-continue-to-fall-after-wednesdays-selloff-2017-08-09), with losses of over 1% for the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index.

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.

"Absent actual military action, I think the markets will realize that the rhetoric got head of the actual policy and it is time to calm down a little bit", McMillan said.

The flight-to-safety into U.S. Treasuries also abated overnight.

US stock futures were 0.1 percent lower on Friday.

Technology stocks led Thursday's market slide.

Housebuilders Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW.L - news) and Barratt fell by 2.8 to 3% on weak house price data. Advanced Micro Devices gave up 50 cents, or 3.9 per cent, to $12.33.

Disappointing earnings also helped pull the market lower Wednesday. It has weakened 1.5 per cent since hitting a 2-1/2 year high of 1.1910 on August 2. That's the biggest increase since May. Its shares tumbled $13.09 to $60.25.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.29-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.47-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

UNDERCOOKED: Blue Apron slumped 17.1 per cent after the meal kit seller reported a sequential decline in customers in the second quarter due to a planned reduction in marketing. The euro fell to $1.1728 from $1.1757. Yields on bonds move inversely to their price.

The benchmark US yield on Thursday was just above 2.2 percent, at its lowest level since late June, as investors bought up Treasuries, a classic safe harbor.

Brent crude advanced 0.06 percent to trade at $52.73 a barrel and USA crude rose 0.08 percent to trade at $49.60.

Brent crude dipped 0.05 percent to $52.68 a barrel.

South Korea's Kospi stock market index has fallen by 0.4% today, adding to the 1% wiped off shares on Wednesday.

Missile makers Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have outperformed Wall Street by nearly four per cent in recent days and the Dow Jones US defence index is at a record high and on a seven-day unbroken run of gains. Copper fell 2 cents to $2.90 a pound.