US Stock Futures Unchanged, N. Korea Tensions, Hurricane Irma Weigh

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He announced that the US would sell sophisticated military equipment to Japan and South Korea, and he threatened to halt trade with any country doing business with North Korea.

US stocks were higher in early afternoon trading on Wednesday, helped by a bounce in energy stocks, but gains were limited due to worries over tensions on the Korean peninsula and a potential USA landfall of Hurricane Irma.

Jason Schenker of Prestige Economics says equities face "downside risks" if Trump tax overhaul doesn't go to plan.

Wall Street loathes uncertainty, and North Korea's weekend nuclear test created a lot of new uncertainties for the investment world to digest.

European stock markets were down across the board as investors reacted to the latest provocation from North Korea.

The precious metals will likely continue to respond to safe-haven fears over the escalating rhetoric (and actions) by the Kim regime in North Korea (DPRK). Even Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan, who is seen as a centrist, suggested in his speech that the Fed can afford to be patient because of low inflation. One of this week's major themes will be a slew of central bank meetings, including the Federal Reserve. President Mario Draghi will express concern over the euro's strength when the European Central Bank meets this week, but won't say much about his asset-purchase program's future, according to a survey.

Hong Kong was also flat and Shanghai, which managed to eke out gains on Monday, eased 0.2%.

At the close, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.14 per cent, or 27.84 points, to 19,357.97, while the broader Topix index ticked up 0.08 per cent, or 1.29 points, to 1,592.00. But in London, the FTSE 100 metric fell 38.55 points, or 0.52 percent, to 7,372.92.

The dollar dipped 0.1 percent against a basket of currencies and was down 0.2 percent versus the yen, which investors often seek during uncertain times. Palladium advanced better than 1% to $980/oz. Revenue from HPE's networking products gained 16% and the technology services business rose 1%.

The strength in the Japanese Yen coincided with some rather dovish voices coming out of the Fed which appeared to damage the Dollar quite considerably.

Germany's 10-year yield declined one basis point to 0.35 percent. Earlier on Tuesday the yield hit 2.065 percent, its lowest since November 10.

-Gold gained 0.7 percent to $1,335.46 an ounce, the highest since November.

Oil prices rose on Wednesday as strong global refining margins and the reopening of U.S. Gulf Coast refineries provided a more bullish outlook after sharp drops due to Storm Harvey.

Toy companies Hasbro and Mattel lost 2.9 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, after Danish toy giant Lego announced it would slash eight percent of its global workforce after a drop in sales in the United States and Europe. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.1 percent. It slid 0.6 percent on Monday, the steepest drop since August 11.