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North Korea Has Markets Nervous But Not Panicked

12 Août 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday warned Pyongyang again, saying his previous promise to unleash "fire and fury" may not have been strong enough after North Korea responded with a threat to fire missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

Tech stocks (-2.2%) led the retreat, sending the tech-heavy Nasdaq (-2.1%) and the S&P 500 (-1.5%) below their 50-day MAs for the first time in a month; the Dow fell 0.9%. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 40.64 points, or 0.64 percent, to 6,311.70.

But although USA equities on Wednesday managed to close only slightly down even after Trump's warning that "fire and fury" would rain on North Korea, on Thursday the chickens came home to roost on Wall Street.

London's FTSE 100 was almost 1% down during morning trading with share indices in Germany, France and Italy also in the red.

"That reset is being triggered by North Korea geopolitical concern and stretched valuations", said Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group in NY.

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 biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were Smurfit Kappa up 38p to 2,224p, Persimmon up 39p to 2,501p, DCC up 70p to 6,885p, Barratt Developments up 6p to 595.5p.

Oil prices were under pressure (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-head-lower-as-global-tensions-continue-unabated-2017-08-11), with prices ticking lower after the International Energy Agency said oil supply rose for a third month as compliance with an OPEC output deal faltered.

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Volatility jumped and the pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX fell 1.1 percent, taking weekly losses to 2.8 percent, its worst since early November 2016.

The price of gold hit a two-month high of $1284.87 an ounce as investors moved away from shares.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE100 was down over one percent, Germany's DAX traded 0.5 percent lower, while the French CAC40 index was 0.62 percent in the red, as of 9:00am GMT. "The North Korea situation appears to be the culprit".

Office Depot tumbled 22.4 percent after the office supplies retailer's quarterly results came in below estimates. On August 8, despite trading at new record high price levels, the market pulled back and closed lower due to the decreased risk appetite.

USA crude CLcv1 fell 0.55 percent to $49.12 per barrel and Brent LCOcv1 was last at $52.03, down 0.65 percent on the day.

USA crude rose 0.41 per cent to US$48.79 per barrel and Brent was last at US$52.01, up 0.21 per cent.

Meanwhile, shares of Kraft Heinz rose as the USA food and beverage company, which has struggled with flagging sales, and Oprah Winfrey announced a new line of "four "flavourful soups and four savoury sides" under the name O, That's Good! as part of a previously-announced partnership between the two".

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