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13 August 2017, 04:53 | Jan Cross
Shares hit by US-North Korea tensions
The Labour Department said that its Consumer Price Index inched up 0.1% last month, pointing to subdued inflation which could make Federal Reserve policy makers cautious regarding another interest rate hike in 2017.
The hope that the Fed will have to slow its rate increases appeared to stop, at least for now, the near US$1 trillion loss in world stocks valuations this week triggered by the war of words between Pyongyang and Washington.
The New York stock Exchange showed Friday, a slight resurgence of optimism even if the situation is diplomatic does not improve much between the two countries.
"The market is trying to interpret the CPI data as somewhat positive because it is anticipating that the Fed will be on hold not only in September but also possibly in December", said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, closed at its highest since the US presidential election on Thursday, but was down 1.22 points at 14.82 points on Friday.
North Korea had responded to Trump's previous promise to unleash "fire and fury" with a threat to land a missile near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.
The rhetoric, which began late Tuesday and continued into Friday, interrupted stocks' march higher and cracked the calm that has enveloped the market for months.
"There's not a great incentive to buy big", said Lerner of SunTrust Advisory. Major U.S. indices had posted record highs in recent weeks.
On Wall Street overnight, the Nasdaq retreated 2.1 percent, while the S&P 500 was down 1.4 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average pulled back 0.9 percent.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index shed 0.9 per cent to 7,323.45 points.
Emerging market stocks lost 1.27 per cent. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 1.47 per cent lower.
Investors flee stocks for gold
Gold's main safe haven in times of geopolitical instability, has taken $27.50 per ounce, or more than 2 % in two sessions. Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street after several companies reported disappointing results.
The Straits Times Index sank 1.31 per cent or 43.52 points to 3,279.72, down 1.4 per cent for the week. "We're not very oversold yet so the market still has more downside left to it".
European stock markets fell further in opening trade on Friday on intensifying fears over North Korea, dealers said.
Meanwhile, gold demand in India remained sluggish this week as local prices jumped to their highest level in almost three months and a rally in global prices dampened fresh buying elsewhere in Asia.
The yen tends to benefit during times of geopolitical or financial stress as Japan is the world's biggest creditor nation and there is an assumption that Japanese investors there will repatriate funds should a crisis materialise.
Markets are now focused on USA consumer price data for July, due later in the session. "We could see a huge drop in the stock market - but we'd have to get to that point", Cardillo said.
Dow e-minis were down 24 points, or 0.11 percent, with 22,166 contracts changing hands.
Sterling GBP= was last trading at $1.3013, up 0.30 percent on the day.
Trucking and software stocks are also seeing notable strength in mid-day trading, while steel stocks have moved sharply lower on the day.
And in bond markets, 10-year US Treasuries and Germany's ultra-safe government bonds, known as Bunds, were trading at their highest prices since June. Economists had expected prices to rise by 0.2 percent.
USA crude futures extended losses from Thursday, when they tumbled 2 percent on fears of slowing demand and lingering concerns over a global oversupply.
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The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, was facing its worst week since the one ended December 2, which logged a loss of just over 2%. Investors await the headline U.S.consumer inflation data for July for more clues about future Fed decisions.
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