Swiss franc, yen rise as North Korea tensions brew

Swiss franc, yen rise as North Korea tensions brew

Swiss franc, yen rise as North Korea tensions brew

Developments regarding the situation with North Korea may remain in focus next week, although traders are also likely to keep an eye on reports on retail sales, housing starts, and industrial production.

North Korea claimed "only absolute force" can work on someone as "bereft of reason" as Trump and detailed plans to fire a salvo of missiles into waters around the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

Baker Avenue's Lip said the USA market was higher due to "bargain hunters", but "there's more room for the market to come down".

Asian equities extended heavy losses Friday as a worldwide sell-off triggered by US President Donald Trump doubling down on his North Korea rhetoric showed no sign of abating.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 14 points, a gain of 0.07 percent, the Nasdaq composite rose almost 40 points or 0.64 percent and the S&P 500 gained 3 points or 0.13 percent.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 1.06 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.17 percent. But for the week the S&P 500 lost 1.3 percent, its worst weekly showing since March.

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Semiconductor, computer hardware, oil service, and retail stocks also saw considerable weakness, moving lower along with most of the other major sectors.

South Korea's Kospi fell 1.8% to an 11-and-a-half-week low, taking its losses this week to 3.2%.

"Pretty remarkable, perhaps even extraordinary, considering", said Tim Ash, strategist at fund manager BlueBay.

"Heightened geopolitical risks overnight have seen the markets flip from risk-on to risk-off and we have to wait and see how long this move runs before adding some positions", said Viraj Patel, an FX strategist at ING in London.

The dollar widened losses against the yen to hit a two-month low.

Japan is the world's biggest creditor nation and there is an assumption investors there will repatriate funds should a crisis eventuate.

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They were at 2.201 percent early on Friday. The company's stock (NYSE:DIS) dropped $4.15, or 3.88 per cent, to US$102.83.

"If the data continues to come in on the softer side, the market might start to price the Fed staying on hold this year", said Sireen Harajli, FX strategist at Mizuho in NY.

In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 78.71 cents United States, down 0.20 of a USA cent. While the German DAX Index closed just below the unchanged line, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both tumbled by 1.1 percent.

Weakness in US Treasury yields may also be supporting the yen, some analysts said.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 1 cent to $49.57 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Ongoing global glut concerns lingered in oil markets despite a bigger-than-expected draw in USA crude inventories.

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Markets saw a tentative recovery in risk appetite in overnight US and early Asian trading, but anxiety mounted again as Asian stocks fell back and London, Frankfurt and Paris dropped 0.5-1.2 percent in Europe.

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