Gold up for fourth straight session on N. Korea tensions

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Equities in Canada's largest market opened sharply lower on Thursday despite a slew of better-than-expected quarterly results, as investors sought refuge in safe-haven assets amid rising tensions between the United States and North Korea.

Travel and media companies led USA stocks lower in afternoon trading Wednesday as some rare earnings disappointments weighed on the market.

Although Japan could be in the front line of any clash with North Korea, the yen is benefiting because Japan is the world's biggest creditor nation and Japanese investors tend to repatriate funds in times of stress, attracting other flows.

Stocks plunged, while US Treasuries and gold climbed, as US President Donald Trump's latest comments further inflamed tension with North Korea.

The Associated Press and Reuters reported on that statement, essentially spreading the news that North Korea will never abandon its belligerent tactics around the world. The S&P 500 and Dow were both coming off record highs.

USA crude CLc1 was unchanged at $48.59 per barrel and Brent LCOc1 was last at $51.84, down 1.63 percent on the day.

The index was down 1.44% or 108.12 points to close at 7389.94 on Thursday in its worst performance for four months.

Chinese bluechips lost 0.9 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 1.6 percent lower.

"There was some skittishness earlier but then some buyers stepped in", he said.

Tensions tend to increase when South Korea and the U.S. launch major military joint exercises. "As long as it doesn't go beyond just a war of words, this is going to be short-lived". At the same time, North Korea dismissed threats by President Trump as a lot of "nonsense".

Trump's second warning, however, has shaken markets that have been largely resilient this year, swatting away a slew of risks.

The dollar index fell 0.14 per cent, with the euro unchanged at US$1.1757. The index closed at 16.04 overnight, the highest level since November 8, when Trump was elected president. It's a history he says many Americans and even younger South Koreans have forgotten. And when the S&P 500 breaks a streak of 50+ trading days without a 1%+ up move, the index actually averages a decline over the next month and a gain of just 0.86% over the next three months.

The dollar extended losses against the yen to hit a new two-month low. Altice USA, the subsidiary of the French company, added 0.1 percent.

"Risk aversion is once again the name of the game on Thursday, as geopolitical tensions mount and investors head for cover in the traditional safe havens".

Major indexes in Asia closed lower.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.20 percent from 2.25 percent late Wednesday.

In the NY session, Canada new housing price index for June, U.S. weekly jobless claims for the week ended August 5 and U.S. PPI for July are slated for release. The sell-off was widespread, with shares in financial and consumer companies leading the declines. Silver gained 47 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $16.86 an ounce. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down almost 0.1 percent.

The Nasdaq composite slid 18.13 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,352.33. Humana rose $3.59, or 1.4 percent, to $253.81.

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