FTSE 100 takes cover from war of words over South Korea

Global markets jarred by North Korea fears

Ryu Yong-seok, a market analyst at KB Securities Co., said tensions between North Korea and the United States are a negative factor in the local stock markets that could drag down the index.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.6 percent to 2,459.50, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 0.8 percent to 6,299.12.

USA stocks ended lower on Thursday, and Asian markets fell sharply, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropping 2%.

Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital in Sydney, said: "What has changed this time is that the scary threats and war of words between the U.S. and North Korea have intensified to the point that markets can't ignore it".

"There is a continuation of flight to the safe havens after remarks on Thursday evening from Trump about North Korea", said Quantitative Commodity Research consultant Peter Fertig.

Gold prices held steady after touching their highest in over two months on Friday and were on track for a weekly gain, buoyed as rising tensions between the United States and North Korea triggered safe-haven buying.

The yen tends to benefit during times of geopolitical or financial stress as Japan is the world's biggest creditor nation and there is an assumption that Japanese investors there will repatriate funds in a crisis. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 6 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,390.

Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric against North Korea and its leader on Thursday, warning Pyongyang against attacking Guam or US allies after it disclosed plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the US Pacific territory.

The dollar fell to 109.85 yen from 110.48 yen late Tuesday.

Disappointing earnings also helped pull the market lower Wednesday.

Benchmark US 10-year notes last rose 6/32 in price to yield 2.1905 per cent, from 2.211 per cent late on Thursday. The next key data on focus will be tomorrow's CPI figures which should shed more light on the path of the USA inflation.

The precious metal enjoyed a 2.2% rise to $1292 per ounce, close to its high for the year. Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,287 per ounce by 2.17pm GMT, set for its biggest weekly gain since April.

Crude futures, meanwhile, extended losses on fears of slowing demand and lingering concerns over global oversupply. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, rose 20 cents to $52.10 a barrel in London. The move added to escalating U.S.

The market was waiting f or USA consumer inflation data on Friday that would offer more clues about future Fed decisions. The forecast is for consumer prices in the world's biggest economy to increase by 0.2 percent over the previous month and 1.8 percent over the same month in 2016.

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