Asian stocks slump on profit-taking amid US-NKorea tensions

Andrew Cummings
August 13, 2017

"It's unbelievable when you consider the headlines just how calm the equity markets are, how they've taken things in their stride", said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina. Only utilities sector stocks eked out a gain on a day of mostly listless trading as investors kept an eye on the latest company earnings and geopolitical news. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.17 percent, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index declining 0.28 percent. The risk-off tone triggered by the increase in tension between the United States and North Korea yesterday picked back up during today's U.S. session.

Volatility gauges from the USA to Japan rose after president Donald Trump said in response to a Washington Post report on North Korea's nuclear capabilities that further threats from the country would be met with "fire and fury".

"Since these are the stocks that have been in the spotlight the most, they tend to have the most volatility upwards and downwards", said Chris Bertelsen, chief investment officer of Aviance Capital Management in Sarasota, Florida. TripAdvisor shares shed $2.70, or 6.8 percent, to $36.85.

On the currency markets, the pound was down to a three-week low against the U.S. dollar but mainly due to earlier disappointing output and trade data. Netflix was down 1.8 per cent.


The indicated USA market moves reflect a selloff across global stock markets Friday. Major indexes in Asia closed lower.

By 4.10pm, the fall was hovering between 99 and 100 points - around 1.34% - down.

Investors are losing enthusiasm for Canada's banking stocks as a slowdown in the country's housing market dents banks' growth prospects, with insurance companies seen as a better bet to benefit from higher interest rates.

The top-flight also sank lower as a number of stocks went ex-dividend, a process where new buyers no longer qualify for the latest dividend payment. Natural gas jumped 10 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $2.99 per 1,000 cubic feet. The stock lost $2.97 to $8.87.


Shares of Snap were off 12.48 percent following a miss on revenue and daily active users, leading to a slew of price target cuts.

The Labor Department said on Friday its Consumer Price Index edged up 0.1 percent in July, which was below the 0.2 percent rise expected by economists polled by Reuters. Rival Advanced Micro Devices was also down 2.6 percent.

In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.62 a gallon, heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.65 a gallon and natural gas rose 6 cents to $2.88 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The September crude contract was up 20 cents to US$49.76 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was up seven cents to US$2.95 per mmBTU.


The dollar slipped to 109.26 yen from 109.85 late Wednesday. The euro held steady at $1.1752.

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