S&P falls 1.4 percent in safety flight on North Korea tensions

Corporate Earnings Chart August 9

Corporate Earnings Chart August 9

"Of course it's all come at a time when share markets are due for a correction so North Korea has provided a flawless trigger".

Besides, persistent buying by local jewellers at domestic spot market stoked the uptrend.

Data showed US producer prices unexpectedly fell in July, recording their biggest drop in almost a year, while another set showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week.

Elsewhere in commodities, the September crude contract advanced 20 cents to $49.76 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was up seven cents to $2.95 per mmBTU. The precious metal had gained Rs 670 in last three days.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 94.55 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 21,954.15, the S&P 500 lost 19.51 points, or 0.79 per cent, to 2,454.51 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 76.39 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 6,275.94. The index had its biggest drop since mid-May a day earlier.

The Vix, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, jumped 34.8 per cent, the biggest increase since May.

Investor focus now turns to Friday's US consumer price index data.

Markets also awaited USA inflation figures, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is set to signal how fast United States interest rates will rise.

Weaker-than-expected July consumer price data pointed to benign inflation that could cause the Federal Reserve to hold off from raising rates again this year.

Global benchmark Brent also fell 0.9 per cent to $51.44, after Thursday's 1.5 per cent drop.

But safe havens benefited from the move away from stocks with gold rising by just under one percent after surging 1.3 percent Wednesday. The sector was the biggest decliner on Thursday.

CURRENCIES: The euro slipped 0.1 percent to $1.1176 while the dollar was steady at 109.20 yen.

Stocks are opening slightly lower on Wall Street after several companies reported disappointing results. Chinese blue chips closed flat but Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.4%.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 24 cents to $48.37 per barrel on the on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, declined 20 cents to $51.70 per barrel in London.

In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.61 a gallon, while heating oil was little changed at $1.63 a gallon.

Jitti Tangsithpakdi, chairman of the Gold Traders Association, said soaring gold prices are expected to continue and will reach $1,300 an ounce if geopolitical tensions escalate. Japan was closed on a public holiday.