October 21, 2017

FTSE ends down as shares hit by US-North Korea tensions

13 August 2017, 03:51 | Hattie Nash

US stocks close lower after President Trump's remarks to North Korea

S&P, Dow hit record highs as Apple climbs

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he did not believe there was an imminent threat. The index had its biggest drop since mid-May a day earlier. The Dow rose slightly on Friday after shedding 205 points the day before, its worst slide in almost three months.

The Nasdaq composite lost 13.31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,370.46.

But in some respects, investors do seem more scared.

In Europe, the pan-continental STOXX 600 index lost 0.8 per cent, with falls deepening after reports a vehicle had rammed a group of soldiers in Paris, injuring six.

Six of the S&P 500 sectors ended higher.

Trump told reporters further threats from North Korea would be "met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before". They suggest the USA and China, a North Korean ally, could work together to de-escalate the situation.

"For a week that has been largely devoid of major economic releases, Donald Trump's confrontational stance with North Korea has raised volatility across the board".

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Nervous investors drove shares lower earlier in the week, after President Trump declared Tuesday that the US would react with "fire and fury" to further nuclear provocations from North Korea.

A spokesman for the Korean People's Army said in a statement it was "carefully examining" plans for a missile attack on the US Pacific territory of Guam, which has a large US military base.

Still, there were fewer signs of anxiousness in the markets Friday. This drove gold prices significantly higher in early trading. The Shanghai Composite added 0.08% and the Shenzhen Composite inched higher by 0.07%.

Data showed USA producer prices unexpectedly fell in July, recording their biggest drop in almost a year, while another set showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week. But some economists say the Fed may stand pat for the rest of 2017 unless inflation accelerates in coming months.

The Dow fell for eight straight days back in March.

Investors spent much of the session digesting China inflation data for July, in which consumer prices rose 1.4% year-on-year during the month, just missing forecasts for 1.5%. Viacom slid 60 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $30.17.

Nevsun Resources Ltd offset some of the material group's gains, plunging 18.4 percent to C$2.685 after the company reported disappointing quarterly results.

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Shares in several other big media companies also declined. The stock lost 78 cents to $3.93. Discovery Communications fell 70 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $23.60.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 22 cents to $49.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, gave up 29 cents to $51.85 in London. Humana rose $4.74, or 1.9 percent, to $254.96. Natural gas gained 2 cents to $2.82 per 1,000 cubic feet.

He added that while current institutional allocations are at their lowest relative to historic levels, should they start re-allocating, "a big move in global gold prices will inevitably ensue".

The dollar was down 0.77 percent against the yen JPY= at 109.21 yen. We should also be aware of the risk of responding to geo-political shocks by selling assets: too often we find ourselves selling at the moment of highest fear, only to be out of the market as a rebound in stock market prices takes place as tensions wind down. Germany's DAX was flat, while France's CAC 40 fell 1.1 percent.

"The UK headline index has crashed to the lowest level since late June, in a week which has turned from mundane to insane".

The Dow fell more than 200 points, a almost 1% drop, and its biggest dip in three months.

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