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13 August 2017, 07:04 | Hattie Nash
US gold futures for December delivery was mostly unchanged at $1,290.50 per ounce
Overnight, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan had skidded 1.55 percent, its biggest one-day loss since mid-December, to leave it down 2.5 percent for the week.
LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - The dollar was pinned close to an eight-week low against the yen on Friday as escalating tension over North Korea dominated currency markets thinned out by the summer holidays in Europe and the United States. The S&P 500 dropped the most since May and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe lost 1.1 percent in its third straight day of declines, as it pulled further back from all-time highs.
A small rise in a measure of USA consumer prices pointed to benign inflation that could make the Federal Reserve cautious about raising interest rates again this year, which would be favorable to equity investors.
Japanese markets were closed for a holiday, but the tense mood dragged Asian shares lower and an MSCI index of stocks across the globe was on track to post its largest weekly drop since the week before Donald Trump won the US presidential election in November.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 14 points, a gain of 0.07 percent, the Nasdaq composite rose almost 40 points or 0.64 percent and the S&P 500 gained 3 points or 0.13 percent. The 1.3 percent gain for the market's main other choice for borrowing to fund speculation, the Swiss franc against the euro, is its biggest rise in more than a year.
South Korea's KOSPI fell 1.7 percent on Friday to its lowest level since May 24, but its losses for the week are a relatively modest 3.2 percent. "The market is interpreting it as lowering the odds of the Fed raising rates in December", said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at SunTrust Advisory Services in Atlanta.
"If earnings can stay strong and interest rates remain low investors can look beyond North Korea and continue to rally equities", Phipps said. The Korea tensions though have seen both USA and European markets this week push back expectations of when the Fed and ECB might hike interest rates.
The yen tends to benefit during times of geopolitical or financial stress as Japan is the world's biggest creditor nation and there is an assumption that Japanese investors there will repatriate funds should a crisis materialise.
The dollar index .DXY , which measures against a basket of currencies, fell 0.05 percent.
It had retreated to trade nearly flat on the day at 109.17 yen per dollar by 0711 GMT but was still 0.2 percent stronger against the euro at 128.28 yen.
"More likely than anything else, the price action was a function of an overextended USA equity market that has been in need for a healthy correction off record highs", LMAX Exchange analysts said in a morning note.
Morgan Stanley analysts raised their forecasts for the euro in a note sent to clients late on Thursday, predicting the single currency would rise to $1.25 in the first quarter of next year and reach parity with sterling for the first time. The 30-year bond last rose 28/32 in price to yield 2.7759 percent, from 2.818 percent late on Wednesday.
Spot gold added 0.7 percent to $1,286.00 an ounce. Its weekly gain of 2.6 percent is the largest since June 2016.
Amid the hot rhetoric, USA stocks sold off sharply on Thursday, with the S&P 500 falling more than 1 percent.
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On the currency markets, the pound was marginally higher against the U.S. dollar at 1.30 and up 0.1% versus the euro at 1.11. The company also said sales at its established stores declined for the fourth straight quarter.