Economy

S&P falls 1.4 pct in safety flight on N. Korea tensions

S&P falls 1.4 pct in safety flight on N. Korea tensions

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later insisted the US isn't signalling it's about to mete out a military response despite threats from North Korea suggesting it could attack Guam, a USA island territory in the Pacific.

Investors have been jittery about North Korea since Tuesday when Trump said any threats from Pyongyang would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen".

Developments regarding the situation with North Korea may remain in focus next week, although traders are also likely to keep an eye on reports on retail sales, housing starts, and industrial production.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region saw continued weakness during trading on Friday.

U.S. Rep. Al Green, D-Houston, on Wednesday called President Donald Trump's statements regarding North Korea "reckless".

South Korea's KOSPI fell 1.8 percent to an 11-1/2-week low, but its losses for the week are a relatively modest 3.2 percent.

The euro was down 0.3 percent at just over $1.17 and nearing a two-week low, while the New Zealand dollar tumbled a full 1 percent as its central bank head bluntly said he wanted it lower.

When Iraq invaded Kuwait 27 years ago this month, the S&P 500 fell 1.1 percent, and was down 9.3 percent 20 days later.

U.S. 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.

Gold, another classic safe haven asset, was trading at around $1,285 per ounce, up more than two percent this week and near a nine-week high.

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Ongoing global glut concerns lingered in oil markets despite a bigger-than-expected draw in USA crude inventories.

Disappointing US inflation and jobs data have not helped the dollar.

The Korean won also continued to skid, down 0.45 percent to 1,147.2, falling below its 200-day moving average for the first time in a month.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 1.19 percent.

Australian shares fell to near three-week lows in a broad-based selloff.

The thirty-year bond auction drew a high yield of 2.818 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.32, while the ten previous thirty-year bond auctions had an average bid-to-cover ratio of 2.29. But for the week the S&P 500 lost 1.3 percent, its worst weekly showing since March.

Macy's shares closed down 10.2 percent and Kohl's fell nearly 6 percent as the companies continued to report a drop in quarterly same-store sales, stoking concerns that their turnarounds may still be a long way off.

Markets are now awaiting United States consumer price data for July, due later in the session.

Markets saw a tentative recovery in risk appetite in overnight USA and early Asian trading, but anxiety mounted again as Asian stocks fell back and London, Frankfurt and Paris dropped 0.5-1.2 percent in Europe. Orders fell 4.7 percent from the previous quarter in April-June, suggesting demand is weaker than expected, though economists say such measures are not overly important.

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