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

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

Flight to safety has helped lift the Japanese yen and gold prices, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an explicit threat on Wednesday to strike a USA military base in Guam.

At the close trading in NY, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 204.69 points, or 0.9%, to 21,844.01, its biggest one-day fall since May 17. The euro strengthened to $1.1756 from $1.1752.

Copper CMCU3 lost 0.39 percent to $6,455.00 a tonne.

Biotechnology stocks are turning in some of the market's worst performances on the day, resulting in a 2.4 percent drop by the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index.

North Korea claimed "only absolute force" can work on someone as "bereft of reason" as Trump and detailed plans to fire a salvo of missiles into waters around the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

The three major US indices have sold off this week amid investors' jitters after Trump said on Tuesday that threats from Pyongyang would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen".

Top military brass and President Trump are being sued by five USA military members that want to keep Trump's transgender ban from becoming a reality - "in any capacity".

Dudley also cautioned that "it's going to take some time" for inflation to rise to the central bank's 2 percent target even as he offered a generally positive outlook for the US economy, job market and price pressures. Financial companies and department store operators were among the big decliners. Nvidia fell $4.73, or 2.7 percent, to $167.38.

Technology companies, which have been the biggest gainers this year as the market hit a succession of record highs, led the broad slide. Dillard's slumped 17.8 percent after the chain booked a loss for the second quarter as increased inventory led to big discounts. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.5 basis points at 2.226 percent.

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OIL: Crude oil gave up early gains.

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.

Oil prices edged higher after a report showed USA refineries processed record amounts of crude in the latest week, eating into inventories, although a surprise jump in gasoline stockpiles limited gains.

Spot gold added 1.3 per cent to US$1,277.15 an ounce. The euro rose to $1.1753 from $1.1752. Silver gained 47 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $16.86 an ounce.

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. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.62 a gallon, heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.65 a gallon and natural gas rose 6 cents to $2.88 per 1,000 cubic feet.

"The dollar is a safe haven, just as much as the Swiss franc and the yen".

Overseas markets were also lower Wednesday. Tech shares sank by 2.2%, with the financials, consumer-discretionary, energy and industrials sectors all falling at least 1.3%.

The dollar index .DXY , which measures the US currency against a basket of other major currencies, fell 0.14 percent. Economists had expected another 0.1 percent uptick.


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