Nikkei edges down ahead of holiday as investors warily eye North Korea

Cuban missile crisis

Cuban missile crisis markets soon recovered following the nuclear stand-off of 1962- Source Shutterstock

US President Donald Trump's brinkmanship in the escalating tensions with North Korea has taken a heavy toll on global markets, wiping $1 trillion off the value of shares worldwide.

On Friday, an MSCI index of stocks across the globe posted its largest weekly drop since the week before Trump won the USA presidential election in November.

Johannesburg/London - Gold prices climbed to two-month highs on Friday as investors sought refuge from escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States, while bullion also received support from weak U.S. inflation data.

Tokyo's blue-chip index tumbled 1.3 percent to its lowest close since late May after the Dow's winning streak of nine straight records ended following Trump's sharp rhetoric of "fire and fury", with the main European bourses also opening lower Wednesday.

The ongoing political crisis that has seen North Korea state it was seeking to strike the US Pacific island territory of Guam within days, prompted gold speculator Dennis Gartman, editor and publisher of The Gartman Letter to say he believed gold was on the cusp on a significant break out.

Inflation has risen 1.7 percent over the past 12 months, suggesting that inflation pressures remain well under control. It is trading at its best level in two months, and is threatening to crack the $1,300 level for the first time since the day following the U.S. presidential election.

Palladium climbed 0.2 percent to $898.30 per ounce and was on track to end the week 2.4-percent higher.

At 9:34 a.m. ET (1334 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 54.06 points, or 0.25 percent, at 21,898.07, the S&P 500 was up 5.23 points, or 0.21 percent, at 2,443.44.

Against the Swiss Franc, the dollar erased earlier losses to traded little changed on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.6%, the German DAX Index slumped by 1.1% and the UK's FTSE 100 Index plunged by 1.4%. The strength in the sector came as gold for December delivery jumped USD10.80 to USD1,290.10 an ounce. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 0.3 percent, to 1,410.15.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 5/32 in price to yield 2.2255 per cent, from 2.242 per cent late on Wednesday. Chinese blue chips are about flat but Hong Kong's Hang Seng index is down 0.3 percent.

Traders snapped up shares in companies that delivered strong quarterly results.

Priceline Group slid 6.9 percent after the online travel booking service issued a profit forecast that was weaker than analysts were expecting. Major indexes in Asia closed lower.

US crude oil futures settled almost 2 per cent lower at $48.59 a barrel, as Russian Federation considered a future output resumption and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries boosted its July production numbers.

In currencies, the yen strengthened 0.64 per cent versus the greenback at 109.37 per dollar. The euro rose to $1.1824 from $1.1774.

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