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GLOBAL SNAPSHOT: US-North Korea Tensions Cause Market Volatility; Oil Prices Slide

12 August 2017, 10:51 | Jan Cross

GLOBAL SNAPSHOT: US-North Korea Tensions Cause Market Volatility; Oil Prices Slide

GLOBAL SNAPSHOT: US-North Korea Tensions Cause Market Volatility; Oil Prices Slide

In Asia, share markets remained pressured on Friday in morning session after US-North Korea geopolitical tensions came to the fore once again.

Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital in Sydney, said: "What has changed this time is that the scary threats and war of words between the U.S. and North Korea have intensified to the point that markets can't ignore it".

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index unofficially closed down 143.08 points, or 0.94 percent, at 15,074.25.

South Korea's KOSPI .ks11 fell 1.7 percent on Friday to its lowest level since May 24, but its losses for the week are a relatively modest 3.2 percent.

Investor sentiment turned negative after North Korea said it was completing plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near the US Pacific territory of Guam in an unusually detailed threat.

Gold has risen to its highest level in nearly two months, while the Swiss franc has powered against the USA dollar and seen its biggest one-day gain against the euro in more than two and a half years.

The yen is perceived as a safe haven because Japan is the world's biggest creditor country and investors there have tended to repatriate funds in times of crisis.

The dollar index.DXY, which tracks the greenback against six rival currencies, was down 0.17 percent to 93.391.

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"When investors are optimistic to the extreme, it means that most of their money is already in the market and there's no more money coming in", Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W. Baird & Co in Sarasota, Florida.

The Dow and S&P 500 inched higher on the day but they both posted their largest weekly percentage drops since late March.

Shares of Snapchat-parent Snap Inc.(SNAP) slid 12% a day after its earnings missed forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/snap-ceos-promise-cant-overcome-declining-ad-rates-stock-heads-toward-new-lows-after-earnings-2017-08-10), and the social-messaging company disclosed that average ad prices fell in the second quarter.

"Indeed, the biggest increases in the price of gold have occurred when the United States bombed Libya in 1986, in the wake of the Gulf War in 1990, and, more recently, when ISIS attacks put oil supplies in the Middle East at risk".

In bond markets, the yield on US Treasuries fell, also pressured by the lowered expectations for a Fed move. The index had its biggest drop since mid-May a day earlier.

The market's main backstop in times of strain, gold, hit a two-month high of $1,282 an ounce amid the nervousness. It is set for a weekly gain of 2.4 percent.

Ongoing global glut concerns lingered in oil markets despite a bigger-than-expected draw in US crude inventories, leaving prices volatile.



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