Swiss Franc Consolidates After Rallying Hard on North Korea Tensions

The threat followed U.S. President Donald Trump's warning on Tuesday that any threats by Pyongyang would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen".

U.S. stock indexes opened higher for the first time in four days on Friday after tepid data pointed to benign inflation that could make the Federal Reserve cautious about raising rates again this year, even as concerns lingered over rising tensions between the United States and North Korea.

Even so, Wall Street remains near record highs.

Equity markets had traded with a soft tone in Europe and there was a sharp increase in selling pressure in NY with the S&P 500 index declining by close to 1.0%. "The market is interpreting it as lowering the odds of the Fed raising rates in December", said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at SunTrust Advisory Services in Atlanta.

NORTH KOREA: President Donald Trump warned North Korea of "fire and fury" this week in response to recent threats from Pyongyang, which said it was examining plans for attacking Guam, a USA territory in the Pacific with a military base. Macy's sank 10.3 per cent and Kohl's lost 5.8 per cent.

Emerging market stocks lost 1.27 per cent. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 1.47 per cent lower.

USA gold futures gained 0.2% to $1,292.70.

Ongoing tensions between North Korea and the United States weighted on stock markets once again Friday.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX was down 1.1 percent, while France's CAC 40 fell 1.4 percent.

The yen on Friday added to a strong weekly rally against the dollar of close to 1.5 per cent, hitting its highest versus the greenback in nearly four months, at 108.73 yen.

The latest US CPI data will also be an important market focus on Friday and there will be a constant threat of choppy trading conditions given a lack of liquidity.

The dollar held steady at 110.02 yen JPY= , having pulled up from Wednesday's low of 109.56 yen, its lowest level since June 15.

The Japanese currency is often a safe have asset too.

"The level of risk aversion we're seeing suggests traders still believe the prospect of military action is very small but precautions are still being taken nonetheless, as this still has the potential to escalate very quickly and unexpectedly".

"More likely than anything else, the price action was a function of an overextended USA equity market that has been in need for a healthy correction off record highs", LMAX Exchange analysts said in a morning note.

The data comes amid tepid inflation that has remained below the Fed's 2% target, despite low unemployment.

The market's main backstop in times of strain, gold, hit a two-month high of $1,282 an ounce amid the nervousness. Netflix also fell, giving up $3.19, or 1.8 percent, to $175.17. It was on course for a weekly rise of about 5%, the biggest such gain since July 2016.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 28 cents to $49.84 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, gained 16 cents to $52.30 in London.

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