Asian stocks slump on profit-taking amid US-NKorea tensions

Marco Green
August 12, 2017

North Korea said it was considering plans to fire missiles at Guam, a US-held Pacific island, after President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned the nuclear-armed nation that it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States.

Aug 10 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 index was on track for its first daily drop of more than 1 percent in nearly three months on Thursday as investors grew cautious over escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.

Mattis said North Korea must stop isolating itself and "stand down" in its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and Pyongyang "should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people".

Chinese bluechips lost 0.9 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 1.6 per cent lower. These military members are suing anonymously, but stem from three different branches of the USA armed forces.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 204.69 points, or 0.93 percent, to close at 21,844.01, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 35.81 points, or 1.45 percent, to 2,438.21 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 135.46 points, or 2.13 percent, to 6,216.87.

Many world stock markets have hit record or multi-year highs in recent weeks, leaving them vulnerable to a sell-off, and the tensions over North Korea have proved the trigger. Alliance Data Systems fell $6.28, or 2.7 percent, to $225.64. The S&P hasn't moved more than 0.5 percent in one day since July and has fallen more than 1 percent only twice this year.

Charter Communications rose 2.9 percent on news Altice is exploring a bid for the cable giant.

Disappointing earnings also helped pull the market lower Wednesday.

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. Netflix was down 4.01 percent. The stock fell $1.01 to $22.02. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.21 percent from 2.25 percent late Wednesday.

USA crude was unchanged at $48.59 per barrel and Brent was last at $51.84, down 1.63 percent on the day. It added 39 cents to $49.56 a barrel overnight.

In currencies, the yen rose 0.8 percent versus the greenback at 109.2 per dollar, the strongest level for the Japanese currency since mid June. Brent crude, used to price global oils, added 21 cents to $52.91.

The producer price index and the consumer price index data due Thursday and Friday, will offer market participants fresh insight on whether the pace of inflation remains subdued - the slowdown inflation has been a key concern for the Federal Reserve.

Euro zone stocks and blue-chips also dropped 0.7 percent, while the miner-heavy FTSE underperformed and was down 0.8 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.2 percent to 5,693.10.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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