U.S. stocks fall again on North Korea fears

Xavier Trudeau
Août 13, 2017

US stock benchmarks were setting up for more losses Friday, with the S&P 500 facing its worst weekly performance since November, as U.S.

Canada's main stock index fell to its lowest close in a month on Thursday as oil prices fell and investors sought refuge in safe-haven assets amid rising tensions between the United States and North Korea. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman were all up, with the Dow Jones US defense index up 1.48 percent at 409.58. Macy's sank 10.3 percent and Kohl's lost 5.8 percent.

All 11 major S&P sectors were lower and the consumer discretionary index was the biggest loser with a 1 percent drop.

Almost $1 trillion has been wiped out from global equity markets since Trump's vow on Tuesday to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea if it threatens the United States.

Priceline Group toppled 8% after reporting a strong beat with its second-quarter results, but lowering its third-quarter earnings guidance to below the consensus number.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 14.31 points, or 0.07 percent, to 21,858.32, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 3.11 points, or 0.13 percent, to 2,441.32 while the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 39.68 points, or 0.64 percent, to 6,256.56.

But the S&P Bank sub-sector.SPXBK fell 0.7 percent on dimming prospects of another rate hike this year since higher rates tend to boost bank profits.

After a dip of as much as 0.52 percent earlier in the day, investors appeared to take some comfort in Tillerson's comments, said Richard Steinberg, managing director at HighTower Advisors in NY.

All four of the big-tech FANG stocks opened sharply lower. It has been the leading S&P gainer so far this year, making it particularly vulnerable to a decline. Its shares slid $9.77, or 5.3 percent, to $174.02.

USA stock indexes reversed course to trade higher on Tuesday morning, with the Dow and the S&P hitting a new record, helped by a rise in Apple's shares. Brent crude, the global standard, lost 23 cents to $52.14 a barrel in London. With one session left to go, the S&P 500 was headed for a weekly drop of around 1.6%, which would be its biggest since a fall of 1.9% for the week ended November 4, 2016. The September copper contract was down two cents to US$2.91 a pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 109.05 yen from 109.20 while the euro weakened to $1.1763 from $1.1773. Wall Street was poised for a soft opening with S&P futures and Dow futures both down 0.2 percent.

A notable decline by Disney ( DIS ) is likely to help drag the Dow lower, with the entertainment giant under pressure in pre-market trading.

There's a handful of high-profile economic data coming out of the Asia Pacific region to end the week, including: July house sales for New Zealand, the final reading of second-quarter growth as well as July retail sales for Singapore, and Hong Kong's second-quarter growth.

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