Stocks tumble on North Korea worries

FOREX-Safe-haven currencies rise as North Korea tensions brew

Investors reacted by driving up the price of gold and bonds, traditional safe investments.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 70.4 points, or 0.32 percent, to 22,014.94, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 5.51 points, or 0.22 percent, to 2,469.41 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 31.19 points, or 0.49 percent, to 6,339.27.

Nevsun Resources Ltd offset some of the material group's gains, plunging 16.4 per cent to C$2.75 after the company reported disappointing quarterly results.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index fell 1%.

The CBOE Volatility Index, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, ended at a session low of 11.11 after rising as high as 12.63.

SIMMERING TENSIONS: North Korea revealed on Thursday a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers.

Stocks tumbled today after President Donald J. Trump said his "fire and fury" comment to North Korea "maybe wasn't tough enough". U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Pyongyang it should stop any actions that would lead to the "end of its regime and the destruction of its people".

Significant weakness is also visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 2.2 percent loss being posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.

"We are at the end of an intense first-quarter earnings season, and that changes the dynamics or focus for brokers and the buyside going into next week, from one which is more reactionary to the constant flow of results, to one which is more about the bigger picture", said Stefan Worrall, director of Japan equity sales at Credit Suisse in Tokyo. On the Nasdaq, 2,082 issues fell and 669 advanced.

Trump Boasts US Nuclear Arsenal Is 'More Powerful Than Ever'
Market participants are also nervous about escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea. In the NY session, U.S. wholesale inventories for June are set for release.

Wall Street's jitters over North Korea gave investors a chance to pocket recent gains..

US Treasury yields fell on Wednesday, with yields on the benchmark 10-year note hitting a six-week low, as investors reached for safe-haven assets such as government debt.

US crude oil futures settled almost 2 per cent lower at $48.59 a barrel, as Russian Federation considered a future output resumption and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries boosted its July production numbers. Brent crude, used to price global oils, slid 52 cents, or 1 percent, to $52.18.

The price of gold also surged for the second day in a row as the December bullion contract advanced US$10.80 to US$1,290.10 an ounce.

More than 430 stocks from all US 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. Copper fell 2 cents to $2.90 a pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 109.48 yen from 109.85 late Wednesday. Humana rose $3.59, or 1.4 percent, to $253.81.

The S&P fell as much as 0.52 percent at its session low. Wall Street was poised for further losses at the opening bell, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.3 percent.

"The markets are looking for direction after Wednesday's sharp moves and geopolitical concerns will dominate investor mindsets in the coming days", said Esther Maria Reichelt, an FX strategist at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. Against the yen, the euro last traded at 128.29 yen, down 0.2 percent.

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