Dollar hits 8-week low vs yen, N.Korea tensions spook investors

Yen Franc Gains May Evaporate as Quickly as They Appeared

Until this week, the equity market had managed to shake off negative news, including previous saber-rattling over North Korea and failures in Washington to pass high-profile bills, such as repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric against North Korea and its leader on Thursday, warning Pyongyang against attacking Guam or U.S. allies after it disclosed plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory.

The euro slid 0.6 percent to 128.92 yen, and fell 0.1 percent against the dollar to $1.1735. Two weeks ago it saw its biggest weekly fall against the euro since the start of 2015.

In bond markets, the yield in U.S. Treasuries fell, also pressured by the lowered expectations for a Fed move. -North Korea tension, though some analysts said gains may be overdone.

"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. "But with the rhetoric having gone to a different level, the market just can't afford to take that risk", said BNY Mellon FX strategist Neil Mellor.

The CBOE Volatility Index, better known as the VIX and the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, rose the most in about 12 weeks.The index ended up 4.93 points at 16.04, the highest level since November 8, when Trump was elected president.

"The level which we are looking at now is $1,300". MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 1.48 percent lower.

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Asked how Moscow would act in case of a military conflict between the US and the North, Lavrov answered it would do everything it could to prevent the worst-case scenario. "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. "Pretty remarkable, perhaps even extraordinary, considering", said Tim Ash, strategist at fund manager BlueBay.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 44.33 points, or 0.2 percent, to 21,888.34, the S&P 500 gained 6.01 points, or 0.25 percent, to 2,444.22 and the Nasdaq Composite added 32.10 points, or 0.52 percent, to 6,248.97.

Australian shares were down 1.3 percent, set for a weekly loss of 0.6 percent and Chinese and Hong Kong bluechips lost 1.6 percent and 1.9 percent respectively.

The commodity touched over $1,284.40 an ounce on Wednesday, which marked the highest intraday price in nearly two months.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 5/32 in price to yield 2.194 percent, from 2.211 percent late on Thursday.

Crude futures meanwhile extended losses on fears of slowing demand and lingering concerns over global oversupply.

Emerging market stocks lost 1.28 percent.

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