Gold Beats US Stocks As North Korea Worries Drive Haven Demand

An exhibit at the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul

In recent trading, the major averages have climbed off their worst levels, although they remain firmly negative. On Wall Street, the future for the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.4 per cent and that for the Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.1 per cent.

Japan said on Tuesday it was possible that North Korea had already developed nuclear warheads and warned of an acute threat posed by its weapons programs as Pyongyang's continues missile and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

Trump took specific aim at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday, saying he had "disrespected our country greatly" and would not be "getting away with it".

Such tensions remained high, with North Korea's state media saying on Thursday that North Korea will develop a plan by mid-August to launch intermediate-range missiles at the USA territory of Guam.

Safe-haven assets gained following the rising geopolitical tensions.

Investor focus now turns to Friday's United States consumer price index data.

The Bank of Japan said that producer prices were up 0.3 percent on month in July. Core PPI was also down 0.1%, missing the 0.2% estimate.

Kohl's stock dropped almost six percent despite better than expected earnings.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed an unexpected uptick in initial jobless claims in the week ended August 5th.

More news: Denier-in-Chief Trump Should Read NOAA's Frightening New Climate Report

South Korea's KOSPI fell 1.8 percent to a 9 1/2-week low, taking its losses this week to almost 2.7 percent. The S&P was down 15.9 percent after 20 days, and 12.3 percent lower after 250 days.

Semafo jumped 10.3 percent to C$2.99 after Credit Suisse raised its recommendation on the gold miner to "outperform" from "neutral" following its second-quarter results, and Finning International Inc rose 6.9 percent to C$27.63 after the heavy equipment company reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations and raised its dividend.

Computer hardware, semiconductor, and retail stocks are also seeing considerable weakness, while gold stocks are among the few groups bucking the downtrend.

USA stocks also fell, lingering in negative territory the entire session, but notching smaller declines than in overseas markets. The index hit a life-high of 415.49 earlier.

Escalating tensions around Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions sent a shiver through markets worldwide and pushed the dollar to below 109.7 yen in afternoon forex trade to an eight-week low against the safe haven currency, piling more pressure on Japanese stocks.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 1.1 percent, while France's CAC 40 slid 1.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are extending the notable upward move seen in the previous session.

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.3 per cent to 19,738.71 and Seoul's Kospi fell 1.1 per cent to 2,368.39.

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