Simmering North Korea tensions knock back Wall Street

Simmering North Korea tensions knock back Wall Street

The three major US stocks indexes were on track to snap a three-day losing streak on Friday, as investors bet that tepid inflation data would stunt USA rate hikes, even as the United States and North Korea stepped up an aggressive war of words.

Among other markets, oil prices advanced after a US Department of Energy report showed lower oil inventories. Ten-year USA yields dropped 4 basis points to 2.242 percent US10YT=RR and German equivalents fell 3 bps to 0.43 percent DE10YT=TWEB, a six-week low. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.17 percent, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index declining 0.28 percent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 39.02 points to 15,217.33 in a broad-based decline that saw many sectors finish in the red while bullion stocks surged almost 1.9 per cent.

North Korea seemed unfazed by the president's bluster, however, as state media carried a statement indicating the communist nation is "carefully examining" a plan to strike the US Pacific territory of Guam.

"If earnings can stay strong and interest rates remain low investors can look beyond North Korea and continue to rally equities", Phipps said. They suggest the USA and China, a North Korean ally, could work together to de-escalate the situation. BNY Mellon FX strategist Neil Mellor told Reuters that in recent years, "the market hasn't really reacted to things on the Korean Peninsula" because in the past "it [has been] largely North Korean sabre-rattling".

LACKLUSTER QUARTER: Office Depot sank 22.4 percent after the office supply company's second-quarter results fell short of Wall Street's projections.

Several financial sector companies also helped pull down the market. Viacom slid 60 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $30.17.

European shares slid, following falls in Asia and on Wall Street.

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Blue Apron slumped as much as 19.1 percent to a record low after the meal-kit delivery service provider reported a bigger-than-expected loss in its first quarterly report as a public company. Its shares tumbled $11.35 to $61.99. Economists had expected prices to rise by 0.2 percent.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.20 percent from 2.25 percent late Wednesday.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 13 cents to $49.69 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, gained 16 cents to $52.30 in London. Brent crude, the worldwide standard, lost 23 cents to $52.14 a barrel in London.

The yen on Friday added to a strong weekly rally against the dollar of close to 1.5 percent, hitting its highest level versus the greenback in nearly four months, at 108.73 yen.

In Europe, Germany's DAX rose 0.3 percent, while France's CAC 40 added 0.2 percent.

Significant strength is also visible among computer hardware stocks, as reflected by the 1.1 percent advance by the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was off 0.3 percent.

South Korea's KOSPI fell 1.7 percent on Friday to its lowest level since May 24, but its losses for the week are a relatively modest 3.2 percent. The Dow shed 0.2 percent.