FTSE falls as North Korea details strike plan

FTSE falls as North Korea details strike plan

All three US stock market indices were down Wednesday morning.

All three major stock indexes dropped 0.2 per cent at the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing at 22,085.34, halting a almost two-week run of closing records.

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

Trump's remarks on Tuesday that North Korea would face "fire and fury like the world has never seen" pushed Wall Street lower on Tuesday and drove up the VIX "fear gauge" of expected volatility on the S&P 500 higher. On August 9, it rose 1.4% to 11.11.

In the United Kingdom, the FTSE 100 closed down 0.59%, or 44.67 points, at 7498, broadly in line with negative trends in European markets.

Tensions between North Korea and the US have intensified in recent days after Trump warned of severe retribution should the authoritarian state proceed with any more missile tests or threats.

Earlier, Pyongyang said it was ready to give Washington a "severe lesson" with its strategic nuclear force in response to any USA military action.

Against the backdrop of geopolitical tension, market participants also focused on individual earnings.

The Swiss franc, meanwhile, looked set for its biggest one-day rise in more than two years.

In commodities, US crude fell 0.67 percent to $49.23 per barrel and Brent was last at $52.58, down 0.23 percent on the day. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he did not believe there was an imminent threat.

Southeast Asian countries are "not happy" with North Korea's missile tests, Cambodia's foreign minister said on Wednesday, calling them a threat to regional security.

Escalating tensions around Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions sent a shiver through markets worldwide and pushed the dollar to below 109.7 yen in afternoon forex trade to an eight-week low against the safe haven currency, piling more pressure on Japanese stocks. Prices for bonds and gold headed higher.

Concerns over geopolitical risks probably led investors to pare back bearish bets against the yen and the Swiss franc, said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore. The numbers came ahead of Friday's USA inflation numbers which will provide another clue on the interest-rate outlook for the world's biggest economy. -North Korea tensions and the weak data that further reduced expectations of an interest rate hike in December.

The UK blue-chip index fell 80 points, or 1.1%, to 7,417, and is now down 128 points over the last two sessions, as the standoff between the USA and North Korea has escalated.

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