Global shares mostly lower on rising unease over North Korea

Global shares mostly lower on rising unease over North Korea

Global shares mostly lower on rising unease over North Korea

While gold XAU= , a safe-haven favourite, pared some gains it was last up 1.2 per cent at around its highest since mid-June, while the Swiss franc CHF= and the Japanese yen JPY= also rose.

The CBOE Volatility Index - a measure of investors' expectations for swings in the S&P 500 over the next 30 days - surged 44% to 16.04 Thursday - its highest level since U.S. Election Day.

Markets have tended to shrug off North Korea's sabre-rattling in the past, dismissing it as bluster, but the latest tensions have added to jitters.

The Dow and S&P 500 inched higher on the day but they both posted their largest weekly percentage drops since late March.

North Korea had responded to Trump's previous promise to unleash "fire and fury" with a threat to land a missile near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. The reclusive state raised the stakes further with a detailed plan to send a salvo of missiles towards the USA territory of Guam. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged by 2 percent, while South Korea's Kospi Index slumped by 1.7 percent.

Stocks in Europe followed their US and Asian counterparts lower on Friday, as heated rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean regime has sent equity markets falling globally since Wednesday.

His comments came in response to North Korea's threat to fire ballistic missiles toward the USA territory of Guam, which is home to US strategic bombers, a naval station and other strategic assets. We can also say that if the above things go badly, it would seem that gold (more than other safe haven assets like the dollar, yen, and treasuries) would benefit, so if you don't have 5-10 per cent of your assets in gold as a hedge, we'd suggest that you relook at this.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 123 points, or 0.6 percent, to 21,923.

FED WATCH: Investors looked ahead to an appearance Thursday by Bill Dudley, president of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of NY, for signs of the Fed's outlook on the economy.

"When investors are optimistic to the extreme, it means that most of their money is already in the market and there's no more money coming in", Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W. Baird & Co in Sarasota, Florida.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index (.FTEU3) lost 1.11 percent.

South Korea's KOSPI fell 1.4 percent, taking its losses this week to almost 3 percent.

North Korea has said it may attack Guam in retaliation.

Ongoing global glut concerns lingered in oil markets despite a bigger-than-expected draw in USA crude inventories, leaving prices volatile.

The Korean won KRW=KFTC also continued to skid, sliding 0.3 percent to 1,145 won to the dollar, after earlier sinking to its lowest level in a month.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 28 cents to $49.84 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.