Wall St set to open flat after inflation data, N.Korea tensions

European Shares Plummet

Stocks are lower at midday as investors weighed the growing tensions between the US and North Korea.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 71 points, or 0.3 percent, to 22,013.

The benchmark S&P 500 index tumbled more than 1 percent on Thursday, only the third time this year it has fallen that much, while the Nasdaq shed more than 2 percent.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 17 points, or 0.29 percent, on volume of 36,232 contracts.

The selling in USA markets started on August 8 after President Trump warned North Korea that threats will be "met with fire and fury".

Banks .SX7P also fell 1.6 percent, with the sector posting its worst week in nine months.

North Korea said it was completing plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam in an unusually detailed threat.

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The Dow slid as declines in shares of Apple and those of Goldman Sachs, recently down 2.3 percent and 1.7 percent respectively, outweighed gains in shares of McDonald's and those of Coca-Cola, recently up 1.4 percent and 0.5 percent respectively.

The data comes amid tepid inflation that has remained below the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target, despite low unemployment. Prices for bonds and gold headed higher.

The biggest fallers were Standard Life down 16p to 410.8p, Rio Tinto down 109.5p to 3,370p, Old Mutual down 6.2p to 195.3p, Anglo American down 39p to 1,238.5p.

"If the market truly believed the North Korea reaction was imminent, I think it would be down a lot more than it is", said Alan Skrainka, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Wealth Management.

Gold held steady at two-month high with spot gold rising 0.1 percent to $1,287.83 per ounce, putting the precious metal on pace for its biggest weekly gains since April.

Michael Kors climbed 21.5 percent after the luxury handbag and apparel designer and retailer's latest quarterly results beat analysts' forecasts as sales improved.

ANALYST TAKE: "Equities look set to end this week on a downer, as geopolitical uncertainty regarding North Korea shakes volatility from its 2017 slumber", said Mike van Dulken, head of Research at Accendo Markets.

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Avis Budget Group slumped 9.9 percent after the auto rental company cut its guidance following a weak second quarter.

The September crude contract was up 20 cents to US$49.76 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was up seven cents to US$2.95 per mmBTU.

The pound was up 0.3% against the euro at 1.1091 and down nearly 0.1% on the dollar at 1.2994. Simon Property Group fell 2.1% to $162.86.

Stocks rose as market bulls saw a buying opportunity after the threat of North Korea pulled Wall Street lower for three days straight.

Wilmar International slipped 6.4 per cent or 22 cents to $3.20; Hongkong Land lost 2.1 per cent or 16 USA cents to US$7.34.

The U.S. dollar fell to 110.48 yen from 110.72 yen late Monday.

North Korea tension hits market as traders seek safety
Toyota Motor shares fell 1.6%, Honda Motor shares fell 1.2%, TDK Corp. shares lost 2% and Advantest Corp. shares were down 2.6%. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE 6-to-1; on Nasdaq, a 3.60-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

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