US missile shield not certain to protect Guam from North Korea

Fear of North Korea attack sends Wall Street spiraling

Most Asian currencies stumbled, with the Korean won on pace for its biggest fall in almost eight weeks as North Korea warned it is "carefully examining" plans for a missile strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

One obvious reason for North Korea choosing to threaten Guam is its large US military presence.

Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper on Tuesday called for USA officials to tone down their rhetoric on North Korea after President Trump threatened to unleash "fire and fury" should Pyongyang continue with its threats. The Dow slumped 204.69 points or 0.9 percent to 21,844.01, the Nasdaq plummeted 135.46 points or 2.1 percent to 6,216.87 and the S&P 500 tumbled 35.81 points or 1.5 percent to 2,438.21.

Canada-listed shares of Tahoe Resources Inc fell 1.8 percent to C$6.48 after the miner said it would stop paying dividends and suspended overall guidance amid uncertainty about its operations in Guatemala.

Stock markets nosedived as investors continued moving into gold amid escalating political tensions between the United States and North Korea.

Wall Street fell, giving up earlier gains that had sent the Dow to a fresh record high, after US President Donald Trump issued a warning to North Korea, illustrating intensifying tension between the two nations. Trump's comments came after a Washington Post report (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korea-now-making-missile-ready-nuclear-weapons-us-analysts-say/2017/08/08/e14b882a-7b6b-11e7-9d08-b79f191668ed_story.html?utm_term=.0938becb046e) that North Korea has built a miniaturized nuclear warhead.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 1 cent to $49.18 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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Meanwhile, gold stocks bucked the downtrend, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 1.3 percent.

Nevsun Resources offset some of the material group's gains, plunging 18.4% to $2.685 after the company reported disappointing quarterly results.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.5 percent, while Japan's Nikkei was 1.3 percent lower as the stronger yen sapped investors' appetite.

Safe havens benefited from the move away from stocks - gold rising again to around $1,290 an ounce after surging 1.3 percent Wednesday - but other risky assets such as oil and copper held their price.

But despite the largest percentage drop in over a month on a global equities index, United States equities ended only slightly lower as healthy corporate earnings and a recent string of strong economic data enticed investors into beaten-down stocks.

Charter Communications rose 2.9 per cent on news Altice is exploring a bid for the cable giant.

The dollar hit a new eight-week low against the yen after the data, dropping to as low as 109.32 yen. The 30-year Treasury bond rose 27/32 in price to yield 2.8252 per cent, from 2.867 per cent late on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price global oils, gave up 29 cents to $51.85 in London.

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