Swiss franc, yen rise as North Korea tensions brew

People walk past an electronic board showing Japan's Nikkei average outside a brokerage at a business district in Tokyo

In the wake of the USA and North Korea tension Wall Street, Asian markets and European markets have all closed in red territory.

The CBOE Volatility Index, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term USA stock market volatility, hit its highest mark since November 8, when Trump was elected president.

Gold prices rose on US-North Korea tensions.

Trading was thinner than usual, with Japanese markets closed for a public holiday.

The yen held steady against the dollar, taking a breather after having risen on Wednesday to its highest level in almost eight weeks. These have ranged from an investigation into Russia's possible interference in the 2016 US presidential election, to concerns about China's risky debt levels, to stubbornly low inflation in the U.S.

But while most traders appeared to favor safe-haven assets, bargain seekers helped Wall Street's three major indexes pare the day's earlier losses.

"For quite some time the market hasn't really reacted to things on the Korean Peninsula because we know from the past it is largely North Korean sabre-rattling, and it may yet be".

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The Dow is up 34.62 points or 0.2% at 21,878.63, the Nasdaq is up 25.62 points or 0.4% at 6,242.49 and the S&P 500 is up 4.36 points or 0.2% at 2,442.57.

The MSCI World index slipped 0.15 percent, extending Thursday's 1.1 percent drop, its biggest one-day slide since May 17.

The UK blue-chip index closed 113 points, or 1.5%, lower at 7,385, steadily losing ground as the trading session wore on.

The FTSE 100 firm announced in March previous year that it would run its US-based asset management operation, its UK-based wealth unit, an emerging markets division and Nedbank in South Africa as separate businesses.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 inched down less than 0.1 percent to finish at 19,729.74.

The tension and severity of the potential consequences of further escalation have effected equities, thereby making the safe-haven of gold attractive to investors.

Trump suggested in remarks on Thursday that his comments threatening North Korea with "fire and fury" may not have been tough enough.

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"Tensions will continue to mount and could eventually develop into a "black swan" event that the markets are not prudently considering", Steve Hanke, professor of Applied Economics at the Johns Hopkins University, told the Reuters Global Markets Forum on Wednesday.

The US-North Korea spat that allowed safe havens to rally this week continued during today's European session. It was on course for an over 5% weekly rise, the highest such gain since July 2016.

The euro slid 0.6 percent to 128.92 yen, and fell 0.1 percent against the dollar to $1.1735.

The dollar index was trading 0.2 percent up at 93.73.

Japan is the world's biggest creditor nation and there is an assumption Japanese investors may repatriate their foreign holdings in times of heightened global uncertainty.

USD/JPY changed hands at 109.06, down 0.12%, while AUD/USD traded at 0.7869, down 0.08%.

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