U.S. stocks close lower after President Trump's remarks to North Korea

U.S. stocks close lower after President Trump's remarks to North Korea

US stock indexes were set to open little changed on Friday, with the S&P 500 on track to post its biggest weekly loss in nine months, as investors remained cautious on heightened tensions between the United States and North Korea.

Trump was responding to North Korea's claim it was completing plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near the US Pacific territory of Guam.

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.

Oil prices are holding their own ahead of the U.S open after yesterday's weekly API inventory reported a large drop in U.S crude stocks countered balanced industry doubts that compliance with OPEC-led supply cuts will increase.

The FTSE 100 has extended its slump after United States president Donald Trump ramped up rhetoric against North Korea, saying his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on the country "wasn't tough enough".

The Japanese market was closed in observance of the Mountain Day holiday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 23 cents to $48.94 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Financial markets tumbled for a third straight day, as disappointing earnings and an exchange of threats between North Korea and the USA pushed investors out of stocks.

Korea tensions cast long shadow over markets
A weaker opening on Wall Street further added to the downward pressure in Europe. Asian regional stock markets took a pounding.

In currencies, the yen rose 0.8 percent versus the greenback at 109.2 per dollar JPY=, the strongest level for the Japanese currency since mid June. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later insisted the US isn't signalling it's about to mete out a military response despite threats from North Korea suggesting it could attack Guam, a USA island territory in the Pacific. An ounce of the precious metal was quoted at USD1,285.10 early Friday, compared to USD1,285.32 at the London equities close on Thursday, which represented a two-month high.

Australian shares fell to near three-week lows in a broad-based selloff.

Inflation has risen 1.7 percent over the past 12 months, suggesting that inflation pressures remain well under control. They are expected to cut North Korea's export revenues by one third.

Separately, industry data showed that New Zealand's house prices increased in July from a year ago, while the volume of sales plunged.

The US Consumer Price Index (CPI) edged up 0.1% last month after staying flat in June and falling by 0.1% in May.

Dean Foods Co.'s stock plunged 21 percent after reporting earnings in the second-quarter that were way below investors' expectations. Despite the losses, Noble shares rose 17.14 percent.

"Although we certainly can get a 5 to 7 percent correction, we don't think it's the start of a significant bear market", Peterson noted.

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