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North Korea Has Markets Nervous But Not Panicked

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Persistent gold buying by local jewellers at domestic spot market stoked uptrend

The UK's stock market has opened lower as worries over the situation between the U.S. and North Korea continue to rattle investors.

The tentative gains "suggest that the headline shock value pertaining to the US-North Korea standoff is starting to dissipate, which is to say actual action will now speak much louder than words", said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.

United States stocks have been in retreat since President Donald Trump Tuesday issued a fiery warning to North Korea to halt its nuclear program. The S&P 500 sank 1.7% from Tuesday to Thursday, the Dow fell 1.1%, and the Nasdaq dropped 2.4%.

North Korea has since threatened to launch missiles at the USA territory of Guam, and the country previously threatened "all-out war, wiping out all the strongholds of enemies, including the US mainland".

"Given the great run we've had, seems like some sort of pullback wouldn't be surprising", said Michael Baele, managing director of investments at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management.

Stocks are falling in midday trading on Wall Street, led by declines in technology companies and banks. -North Korea tensions. The VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, jumped 25.2 per cent, the biggest increase since May. Advanced Micro Devices gave up 38 cents, or 3 per cent, to $12.45.

Retailers slid after department stores Macy's and Kohl's both said same-store sales continued to decline in the second quarter.

Travel website operator Priceline fell 7.26 per cent, weighing the most on the S&P and the Nasdaq, following a disappointing forecast.

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South Korea's Kospi sank 1.7 percent to 2,319.83 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.8 percent to 26,946.81. After touching a more than two-month high, spot gold last added 0.1 percent to $1,287.18 an ounce.

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Nvidia's quarterly revenue in its data center and automotive businesses missed estimates, dragging the chipmaker's shares down 5.43 percent. For the week, the benchmark slipped 2.6%.

The dollar pulled back against the euro and other currencies after the Consumer Price Index rose a tame 0.1 percent in July.

The Federal Reserve's hint about unwinding balance sheets, the possibility of the European Central Bank tapering stimulus and the looming debate about the USA debt ceiling in the fall challenge the market's recent performance, Mr. Baele said. It added 39 cents to $49.56 a barrel on Wednesday.

The news was also greeted with dismay by traders in Asia, with Tokyo down 1.3 percent, Hong Kong losing 0.4 percent and Seoul registering a 1.1-percent decline.

The latest sell-off was the most severe yet, amounting to the biggest single-day drop for the stock market in almost three months.

"But looking ahead unless we start to see a conflict break out or a major stock market correction, (gold) is capped at 1,295 (although) the upside at moment is the favored direction".

U.K.'s FTSE 100, the German DAX and the French CAC 40 all dropped more than 2.3% this week.

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