North Korea nerves rattle stocks, lift gold, yen

North Korea nerves rattle stocks, lift gold, yen

Were the situation to escalate, much more than the stock markets would be at risk.

Tillerson's tone was in sharp contrast to that of U.S. president Donald Trump, who warned on Tuesday any North Korean threat to the USA would be met with "fire and fury".

Investors, who took the North Korea report from Japan in their stride earlier in the day, lost their appetite for risk after Trump's comments to reporters during his vacation at his golf club in New Jersey.

"I think the market was looking for a reason to come off here", said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds.

USA stock index futures fell, with the S&P 500 indicated to open down 0.4 percent after share prices fell in Europe and Asia.

S&P 500 e-minis were down 10.25 points, or 0.41 percent, with 180,193 contracts traded.

At close USA stocks' retreat was mild as Dow and S&P 500 barely changed.

Utilities closed up 0.3 percent while the materials sector was the S&P's biggest loser with a 0.9-percent drop.

Spot gold added 0.7 percent to $1,285.70 an ounce.

Energy stocks retreated 0.5 percent, despite higher oil prices. The strong performance of these companies is clearly related to the North Korea drama.

Wall Street closed sharply lower after U.S. President Donald Trump issued a new round of fiery rhetoric, warning Pyongyang against attacking Guam or U.S. allies after it disclosed plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory.

U.S. dairy group Dean Foods dropped nearly 21 percent as its quarterly earnings fell, and the stock received a downgrade from JPMorgan. Only 3 of the 30 stocks in the Dow finished the day with a gain: IBM, Coca-Cola and McDonald's.

Shares of Manulife, which reported better-than-expected results, fell after the company played down talk of a John Hancock spin-off.

The recovery fit a recent pattern of investors using dips to put more money in stocks.

Michael Kors climbed 21.5 percent after the luxury handbag and apparel designer and retailer's latest quarterly results beat analysts' forecasts as sales improved. It usually moves opposite to the movements of stocks and rises when the S&P 500 falls.

Stocks going ex-dividend included BT, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Lloyds, and pharma companies GSK and AstraZeneca, taking around 41 points off the index.

In Europe, France's CAC 40 fell 1.6 percent to 5,135 while Germany's DAX was down 1.3 percent at 12,133. Bent crude, the global benchmark, rose 19 cents to $52.33 a barrel. Heating oil fell 1 cent to $1.63 a gallon.

Revenue rose 13% in the period, or 6.2% higher at constant currency to GBP3.97 billion from GBP3.53 billion, but G4S said it is still expecting annual revenue in 2017 to grow only by 4.0% to 6.0%. The WSJ dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was flat.

Markets overseas were mixed Tuesday.

Disappointing earnings also helped pull the market lower Wednesday.

Stocks ended more than one percent down in Seoul while the won slumped to a three-week low against the dollar as the United States president and South Korea's volatile neighbour dramatically ramped up their war of words.

Chinese bluechips lost 0.9 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 1.6 percent lower.

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