Saturday, 21 October, 2017

USA stocks snap 3-day losing streak in roller coaster week

Debra Rodriguez | 14 August, 2017, 01:37

US President Donald Trump's warning to North Korea has given gold momentum; investors are also awaiting US inflation data.

Earlier in the week, Trump said the US would unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea if it continued to threaten the U.S.

The CBOE volatility index extends advance after Thursday's spike while the "Fear Gauge" is now at its highest point since the November election.

Investors' unease over escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea had weighed on stocks earlier in the day, pushing gold and bond prices slightly higher.

Rising tensions between North Korea and the United States were once again the theme of the day with only the release of much-awaited inflation figures out of the USA managing to divert attention away from developments on that front. According to the Associated Press, South Korea's Kospi lost 1.7 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 2 percent.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback against the currencies of six major USA trading partners, was last 0.2% down on the day during afternoon European trading hours - it stood at 93.20.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 94.55 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 21,954.15, the S&P 500 lost 19.51 points, or 0.79 per cent, to 2,454.51 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 76.39 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 6,275.94.

The latest rhetorical escalation comes after North Korean state media reported that the country's military leaders were working on a proposal to launch four intermediate-range missiles into the sea less than 25 miles off Guam's coast.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.5 percent, while Japan's Nikkei lost 1.3 percent as the stronger yen sapped investor appetite. Major U.S. indices had posted record highs in recent weeks.

"Given the great run we've had, seems like some sort of pullback wouldn't be surprising", said Michael Baele, managing director of investments at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slipped 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,370. EIA reported that U.S. crude inventories fell last week as refineries boosted output to the highest percentage of capacity in 12 years.

Markets are now awaiting USA consumer price data for July, due later today. Shares of J.C. Penney dropped 78 cents, or 17%, to $3.93 Friday after the department store's second-quarter loss exceeded expectations. The NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index plunged by 3.4% to its lowest closing level in well over a month.

It stood 0.16 percent down on the day at 109.03 yen per dollar by 1047 GMT.

The 30-year bond last rose 28/32 in price to yield 2.7759 percent, from 2.818 percent late on Wednesday.

Data showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but the underlying trend remained consistent with a tightening labor market.

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