Global stocks sink on 'fire and fury' warning


Global stocks sink on fire and fury warning
Donald Trump's comments dragged Wall Street down into negative territory in late Tuesday trading.

london - Investors shun risky equities and flock to traditional safe-havens

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Published: Wed 9 Aug 2017, 4:59 PM

Last updated: Wed 9 Aug 2017, 7:01 PM

World stock markets and the dollar slid on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump warned of "fire and fury" in retaliation to North Korea's nuclear ambitions, sending traders fleeing to safe-haven investments.

North Korea raised the stakes just hours later, saying it was considering missile strikes near US strategic military installations on the Pacific island of Guam.
"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States," said Trump, speaking from his golf club in New Jersey on Tuesday. "They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."

The comments dragged Wall Street down into negative territory in late Tuesday trading, snapping a nine-day streak of record closes by the Dow.
In Europe, equities dived, with London losing 0.8 per cent, while Frankfurt and Paris shed 1.3 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.

The news was also greeted with dismay by traders in Asia, with Tokyo down 1.3 per cent, Hong Kong losing 0.4 per cent and Seoul registering a 1.1 per cent decline.

Investors shunned risky equities and flocked instead to traditional safe-havens like precious metal gold, the Japanese yen and the bond market.

In foreign exchange activity, the dollar hit a two-month low at 109.66 yen, while the euro struck a three-week trough against the Japanese unit.

"There has been a distinct souring of risk appetite since the European markets closed last night with rising tensions between the US and North Korea causing investors to sell equities and move into traditional safe-haven assets such as gold and the Japanese yen," added analyst David Cheetham at London-based broker XTB.

North Korea exploded onto traders' screens in a hitherto subdued and quiet August trading week.

"A week of low volatility has been hit with an unexpected rush to safe havens as the US-North Korean feud has ratcheted up once more," noted IG analyst Joshua Mahony.

"The unpredictable nature of North Korea means it is hard to gauge exactly how likely an attack is, yet given the military power of both nations, there is no surprise we are seeing markets shift out of risk assets." - AFP

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