Seoul shares open lower amid tensions over North Korea

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Seoul shares open lower amid tensions over North Korea

The modest rebound came at the end of a turbulent week on Wall Street as escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea rattled global markets.

Major North American indexes fell today and investors flocked to gold amid growing tensions between the USA and North Korea.

Inflation has risen 1.7 percent over the past 12 months, suggesting that inflation pressures remain well under control. Even so, the close was the highest in a month. Tensions spiked yet further when North Korean state media later said Pyongyang was considering strikes near USA military installations in Guam. 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".

After moving lower early in the session, stocks remain mostly negative in mid-day trading on Wednesday.

"Of course, it's all come at a time when share markets are due for a correction, so North Korea has provided a ideal trigger".

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

"Japanese equities hadn't been rising much despite positive earnings results, so investors had started jumping at shadows, doubting whether they should really be holdings onto Japanese stocks". Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman were all up, with the Dow Jones U.S. defense index up 1.48 percent at 409.58. The stock lost $5.23 to $101.75.

Ten out of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors ended lower after the comments with the only gains seen in the utilities sector.SPLRCU, which is seen as a bond proxy because of its slow but predictable growth and dividends.

The rally by gold stocks comes as the price of gold for December delivery is jumping USD17.10 to USD1,279.70 an ounce due to its appeal as a safe haven.

Stocks Close Mostly Lower Amid Geopolitical Concerns - US Commentary
US stocks fall again on North Korea tensions

"Tensions are still high and not going away at the moment".

The Swiss franc, the other traditional safety-play among currencies, has benefited too.

The Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 78.71 cents United States, down 0.20 of a USA cent. The greenback was down 1.1 against the franc, its worst drop in more than six weeks. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.3%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 0.4%.

Energy stocks dropped 0.5 percent despite higher oil prices. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 1.1 percent. The Swiss franc was on track for its biggest daily gain against the euro since the Swiss National Bank removed its cap on the currency in January 2015. The euro held steady at $1.1752.

Yields on core government debt fell.

USA stocks closed slightly lower Wednesday, making up much of the ground they lost earlier following a rare batch of earnings disappointments by Walt Disney and other big companies. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.25 percent from 2.26 percent late Tuesday. Japan and South Korea vowed a strong reaction if the North were to go through with the plan.

On the United States economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing labor productivity increased by slightly more than expected in the second quarter. Humana rose $4.74, or 1.9 percent, to $254.96.

About 6.22 billion shares changed hands on US stock exchanges, slightly above the 6.15 billion average for the last 20 sessions.

Spot gold added 0.7 percent to $1,286.00 an ounce. USA gold futures gained 1.63 percent to $1,283.20 an ounce. Altice USA, the subsidiary of the French company, added 0.1 percent.

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