March 17, 2018

Stock markets extend losses at open

13 August 2017, 05:37 | Melvin Schneider

North Korea: Latest News, Videos and Photos | Times of India

Yen Franc Gains May Evaporate as Quickly as They Appeared

The Swiss Franc is now lower against the US Dollar but managed to hold onto the majority of gains made yesterday in the aftermath of elevated political tension between North Korea and the United States.

The UK's FTSE 100 index fell 66.36 points, or 0.9%, to 7,323.58 in early trade, having dropped 1.4% on Thursday.

Railroad stocks have shown a strong move to the upside on the day, driving the Dow Jones Railroads Index up by 1.3 percent. It is heading for a 2.5 percent drop for the week. Japan was closed on a public holiday.

The market volatility - the VIX index, nicknamed " the fear index, had been dashed the night before - remained high compared to the evolution since the beginning of the year.

"The North Korea risk may combine with the won's plunge to put greater pressure on some foreign investors to take profits down the road", said Park Sang-hyun, an analyst at Hi Investment & Securities Co. U.S. stock index futures also fell, with the S&P 500 indicated to open down 0.4 per cent. The index is bouncing off its lowest closing level in six months. The S&P shed 1.4%, its worst week since March, while the Nasdaq posted a weekly loss of 1.5%, its worst since June. Panasonic was off 0.74 percent to sit at 1,475.5 yen.

Nervous investors drove shares lower earlier in the week, after President Trump declared Tuesday that the usa would react with "fire and fury" to further nuclear provocations from North Korea.

"This situation is beginning to develop into this generation's Cuban Missile crisis moment", ING's chief Asia economist Robert Carnell wrote in a note.

"If the USA and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so", the editorial's authors said.

Trump had stunned the world by saying the North faced "fire and fury like the world has never seen" over its nuclear and missile programmes.

Trump's second warning, however, has shaken markets that have been largely resilient this year, swatting away a slew of risks.

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Despite the risk-off attitude in the market, stocks in NY were taking back some losses at the London equities close, as bargain hunters entered the market following steep falls in USA stock indices earlier this week. The expanded index S&P 500 rose 0.1 % to 2441,32 points.

The Japanese yen hit an eight-week high against the USA dollar, and US -traded Nikkei stock futures dropped 2 percent to their lowest since mid May. New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said reaching the 2% inflation target this year will be tough - even if monthly data improves. However, the rally stopped with all the currency pairs being broadly flat and gold modestly declining as European traders were starting the day.

The Swiss franc and Japanese yen are often sought in times of geopolitical tension or global financial stress, partly because both countries have big current account surpluses. The price of the precious metal - which is considered a safe haven during periods of uncertainty - advanced Friday, from 3.90 to USA $1294 U.S. $at the Exchange of the commodities of NY.

During 2017 to date, the USA equity market has been driven by a wide range of positive factors, including sustained US economic growth momentum, planned corporate tax cuts by the Trump administration, moderate inflation pressures and positive US corporate earnings growth prospects, so geopolitical risks from North Korea are not the only factor impacting on the USA equity market outlook. Ten-year USA yields dropped 4 basis points to 2.242 percent and German equivalents fell 3 bps to 0.44 per cent, their lowest since 30 June.

The dollar was further weighed down on Friday by the soft USA inflation data.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.19 percent from 2.20 percent late Thursday.

Investors are also awaiting United States inflation data due later this week for clues on when the U.S. Federal Reserve would begin reducing its $4.2 trillion bond portfolio.

The dollar was down 1.2 percent at 0.9627 Swiss francs, while an ounce of gold was 1 percent higher at $1,275. This week has seen its biggest rise since June 2016.

Ongoing global glut concerns lingered in oil markets despite a bigger-than-expected draw in USA crude inventories.

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