North Korea standoff wipes $1trn off global stocks

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Investors flocked to gold Wednesday against the backdrop of rising tensions between the US and North Korea, offsetting some of the broad-based declines on the commodity-heavy Toronto stock index.

Technology companies were leading a broad slide in US stocks in early trading Thursday as investors pored over the latest batch of corporate earnings reports.

Shares of USA department stores Kohl's and Macy's were weak after their results. Utilities eked out a small gain.

"While the US President insists on ramping up the war of words, there is a decreasing chance of any diplomatic solution", Mr Carnell said. "You're less than 2 percent off the high for the S&P heading into a weekend where uncertainty with North Korea still lingers".

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 36.64 points to 22,048.70, the S&P 500 index inched down 0.90 of a point to 2,474.02 and the Nasdaq composite index lost 18.13 points to 6,352.33.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.7% at closing, France's CAC 40 fell 1.4% after a vehicle hit a group of soldiers in Paris in what is thought to have been a deliberate act, and a fall in bond yields saw Germany's DAX down 1.1%. Banks and retail chains were also among the big decliners.

But safe havens benefited from the move away from stocks with gold rising by just under one percent after surging 1.3 percent Wednesday.

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All the indexes are down for the week. Canada's 10-year yield on Friday touched its lowest intraday level in almost a month at 1.837 percent. It earlier hit its highest since June 8 at $1,288.97 U.S.an ounce.

Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric toward North Korea on Thursday, saying it should be "very, very nervous" if it even thinks about attacking the United States or its allies, after Pyongyang said it was making plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. Later in the day, President Trump warned the regime to "get their act together" or face extraordinary trouble.

Most large-cap stocks fell across the board. That's the biggest increase since May.

U.S. markets fell on Wednesday morning, spooked by rising tension between the United States and North Korea.

"Year to date, the markets are sitting on huge unrealised gains, so investors are taking profit now", she added. "I don't see it as a fear-driven sell-off". Macy's was down 4.4 percent after the company said its sales continued to decline in the second quarter.

TECH SLIDE: Losses among technology stocks led the market slide.

In bond markets, the yield on U.S. Treasuries fell, also pressured by the lowered expectations for a Fed move. They also racked up losses Thursday.

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