SEJONG - South Korea's finance ministry said Friday that it will take swift and firm action as the heightening geopolitical tension sparked by the latest North Korean provocations may expand market volatility. The somewhat firmer U.S. dollar so far this week has had very little impact on the buck-denominated metals. The US currency was down 0.3% at 109.94 yen, following a retreat to 109.740, its weakest since June 15.
Among other markets, oil prices advanced after a US Department of Energy report showed lower oil inventories.
Against the euro and the Australian dollar, the kiwi dropped to almost a 3-month low of 1.6147 and a 3-week low of 1.0838 from an early 3-day highs of 1.5961 and 1.0704, respectively.
"While the U.S. President insists on ramping up the war of words, there is a decreasing chance of any diplomatic solution", Carnell said. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent to 5,773.70 while Manila, Malaysia and Jakarta also rose.
The Nikkei slumped to its lowest close for nearly three months Wednesday, leading an Asia-wide sell-off sparked by President Donald Trump's apocalyptic warning over North Korea's weapons program. Earlier in the session, it marked its highest since June 8 an $1,288.52 an ounce.
It also outlined detailed plans for a missile strike near Guam, which is more than 3,000 km (2,000 miles) to the southeast of North Korea and home to about 163,000 people, a U.S. Navy base that includes a submarine squadron and an air base.
High-flying technology names suffered outsized losses on the day, with Apple falling 3.2 percent, Amazon 2.6 percent, and Facebook 2.2 percent.
Gold prices, which hit a two-month low on Thursday, were steady at $1,286.16 an ounce, after surging over 2 percent in the past two sessions. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.23 percent from 2.26 percent late Tuesday.
Later on Friday, investors will look to U.S. July consumer price data for hints on the Fed's policy outlook and near-term moves in the dollar.
Kohl's stock dropped almost six percent despite better than expected earnings. "Gold and silver are higher, thanks mainly to their status as safe-haven commodities". It slid 80 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $51.90 per barrel on Thursday.
US crude CLc1 prices settled 39 cents higher at $49.56 a barrel after data pointed to declining USA inventories. It is poised to end the week down 1.7 percent.
Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis Co. was up 1.78 percent to 257,500 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. rose 0.31 percent to 64,400 won.