Escalating tensions over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions rattled investors Thursday, helping to pull global share benchmarks lower.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX dropped 0.3 percent to 12,117.07 and the CAC 40 of France lost 0.3 percent to 5,132.22. Britain’s FTSE 100 sank 0.7 percent to 7,447.21. Futures pointed to further declines on Wall Street, with S&P 500 futures down 0.3 percent at 2,465.70 and Dow futures falling 0.2 percent to 21,986.00.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 inched down less than 0.1 percent to finish at 19,729.74. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged down nearly 0.1 percent to 5,760.90, while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.5 percent to 2,357.84. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped 1.1 percent to 27,444.00. The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.4 percent to 3,261.75.
NORTH KOREA: President Donald Trump warned North Korea of “fire and fury” this week in response to recent threats from Pyongyang, which said it was examining plans for attacking Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific with a military base. Trump’s comments followed reports the North has mastered a technology needed to strike the United States with a nuclear missile.
THE QUOTE: “Risk-averse sentiment is dominating global equities markets, and U.S. indices have retraced from record levels over the last two days. Although it is considered highly unlikely that this tension will escalate into a nuclear war, the market still needs to see how President Trump will eventually deal with his advocating ‘fire and fury’ against North Korea’s threat,” said Margaret Yang Yan, market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore.
JAPAN MACHINERY DISAPPOINTS: Orders for machinery in June, considered a leading economic indicator, were slower than analysts had forecast and at their weakest since May 2016. Orders fell 4.7 percent from the previous quarter in April-June, suggesting demand is weaker than expected, though economists say the outlook for coming months is more upbeat.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 28 cents to $49.84 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added 39 cents to $49.56 a barrel overnight. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 26 cents to $52.96.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 109.98 yen from 110.06 late Wednesday in Asia. The euro fell to $1.1728 from $1.1757.
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