Safe-haven currencies rise as North Korea tensions brew

S&P 500 Falls 1.4 Percent in Safety Flight on N. Korea Tensions

Overnight the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wall Street fell 0.2% to 22,085.34, ending a winning streak of 10-consecutive record high closes. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks ticked up 0.2% to 1,416.

Tomoaki Fujii, head of investment research at Akatsuki Securities in Tokyo, said: "The sell-off caused by geopolitical tensions on North Korea will likely be short-lived as long as both Trump and Kim Jong Un keep making feints against each other and neither takes military action". Pyongyang said it was examining plans for attacking Guam, a USA territory in the Pacific with a military base.

President Trump promises "fire and fury" for North Korea.

Beyond geopolitical concerns, investors continued to size up company earnings reports.

Politics also lifted USA defense stocks.

Nvidia fell 4.3 percent, while Advanced Micro Devices gave up 5.5 percent.

Foreigners and retail investors offloaded shares worth more than 286 billion won (US$250 million) and 168 billion won, respectively, while institutions scooped up more than 429 billion won, keeping the main index from falling further. Bank of New York Mellon fell $1.74, or 3.2 percent, to $52.30, while Citizens Financial Group slid $1.11, or 3.2 percent, to $33.92.

More news: Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. Sells 255 Shares of Macy's Inc (M)

LOOKING GOOD: Michael Kors climbed 21.9% to $45.40 after the luxury handbag and apparel designer and retailer posted quarterly results that beat analysts' forecasts as sales improved.

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. Clothing company Ralph Lauren, with its figures, also brought cheers to investors and increased by more than 13 percent. Dillard's slumped 15.3 percent after the chain booked a loss for the second quarter as increased inventory led to big discounts.

However, shares of Dean Foods tumbled 20% to $US11.96 after the USA dairy processor posted quarterly results that fell short of expectations and downgraded its full-year forecast amid "a challenging and rapidly evolving retail environment".

Bank shares were hit hard Wednesday and that pulled the Stoxx Europe 600 Bank Index down 1.4%, the biggest decline in three weeks and the first loss in five sessions. The trend appeared to overshadow strong quarterly revenue growth in the quarter. The stock lost $142.20 to $1,906.80.

Gold prices gained around $7 per ounce, taking the price of the bullion for immediately delivery to $1,267 per ounce in early London trading while benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yields, which move in the opposite direction of prices, fell 2 basis points to 2.25%. Silver also rose, gaining 43 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $16.82 an ounce. Copper rose four cents to 2.94 a pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 109.26 yen from 109.85 late Wednesday. The euro slid to 1.1752 dollars from 1.1793.

In European markets, the French CAC 40 was down 0.7% and Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 1.2%.

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