Korean shares end lower on foreign selling amid tensions over N. Korea

Korean shares end lower on foreign selling amid tensions over N. Korea

"The data confirms the Fed will have a wait-and-see attitude", said King Lip, chief investment officer at Baker Avenue Asset Management in San Francisco. They are looking for confirmation that the Fed is sticking with plans for a possible December interest rate hike.

Global markets have been on edge since Tuesday, when President Donald Trump warned North Korea of severe retribution should the authoritarian state proceed with any more missile tests or threats.

Shortly after this announcement, North Korea said it was "carefully examining" the idea of a missile strike on Guam, a U.S. Pacific territory, Reuters reported citing the North's state-run KCNA.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 38.75 points, or 0.65 percent, on volume of 38,566 contracts. Shanghai's main index also tumbled 1.6 percent to 3,208.54 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.2 percent to 5,693.10.

Sterling was last trading at US$1.3007, up 0.25 per cent on the day.

The Korean won KRW=KFTC also continued to skid, sliding 0.3 percent to 1,145 won to the dollar, after earlier sinking to its lowest level in a month.

South Korea's KOSPI fell 1.4 percent, taking its losses this week to almost 3 percent.

"Pretty remarkable, perhaps even extraordinary, considering", said Tim Ash, strategist at fund manager BlueBay.

The so-called fear gauge - the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), the most widely followed barometer of expected U.S. stock market volatility, hit its highest since November 8, when Mr Trump was elected president.

Nervous markets: Global markets are heading for a third consecutive day of losses amid growing tensions between North Korea and the U.S.

The euro eased 0.1 percent to $1.1766 EUR=, staying below a high of around $1.1910 set last week, the euro's strongest level in 2-1/2 years. The market was waiting f or US consumer inflation data on Friday that would offer more clues about future Fed decisions.

"It's a clear case of "risk-off" sentiment lifting the yen, as investors focus on the latest developments with North Korea", said Kumiko Ishikawa, FX market analyst at Sony Financial Holdings in Tokyo.

Possibly due to the lack of appetite for risk in the market, the euro suffered on Thursday, down slightly against the dollar by 0.09% at 1.1749, slipping towards a two week low. Basically if the streak of trading days without a 1%+ up or down day is going to be broken, it's better for it to break with a 1%+ down day than a 1%+ up day.

The US dollar meanwhile remained sluggish, with the dollar index being unable to hold on to modest gains from earlier in the session. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.23 percent from 2.26 percent late Tuesday.

Gold added $16.70, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $1,279.30 an ounce. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 4.02 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,410.15.

"Although the Greenback has maintained its post NFP gains this week, the overall price action suggests that market players are still hesitant to purchase the currency".

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 13 cents to $49.69 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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    The Nasdaq finished the day at 6,216.87, a slide of 135.46, while the S&P 500 lost almost 1.5 percent, ending the day at 2,438.21. U.S. bond prices also rose while gold closed at its highest for the week up 1.52% to $1281.