Stocks in Europe and Asia Slip as North Korea Tensions Rise

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Travel and media companies led USA stocks lower in afternoon trading Wednesday as some rare earnings disappointments weighed on the market.

The negative headlines provided many investors with an opportunity to pocket some of their recent gains following a string of record highs fueled by strong corporate earnings.

The remarks followed a new report asserting that US intelligence has assessed that Pyongyang has successfully produced a nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

Investors appeared to be moving their money into the relative safety of bond markets. Futures for the S&P 500 retreated 8.75 points, or 0.4%, to 2,464.25. The index had its biggest drop since mid-May a day earlier. The Dow is down 48.57 points or 0.2% at 22,036.77, the Nasdaq is down 20.93 points or 0.3% at 6,349.53 and the S&P 500 is down 3.18 points or 0.1% at 2,471.74. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 120 points, or 0.5 percent, to 21,928.

"Japanese equities hadn't been rising much despite positive earnings results, so investors had started jumping at shadows, doubting whether they should really be holdings onto Japanese stocks". The Nasdaq composite lost 76 points, or 1.2 percent, to 6,275.

Major North American indexes fell today and investors flocked to gold amid growing tensions between the US and North Korea.

Japan said on Tuesday it was possible that North Korea had already developed nuclear warheads and warned of an acute threat posed by its weapons programs as Pyongyang's continues missile and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

SIMMERING TENSIONS: North Korea revealed on Thursday a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers.

Still, there were fewer signs of anxiousness in the markets Friday.

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Traditional safe-haven currencies including the Swiss franc and Japanese yen rose against the US dollar. It's still the highest it's been since May. The index has slid to its lowest intraday level in nearly eight months. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.08 percent versus the greenback at 110.00 per dollar. Viacom slid 93 cents, or 3 percent, to $29.84.

Technology companies, which suffered the brunt of the selling a day earlier, were back in the lead Friday. Twenty-First Century Fox gave up 46 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $27.57. Seagate shares rose 74 cents to $32.29. Higher interest rates can help boost banks' revenue from loans.

Charter Communications rose 2.9 percent on news Altice is exploring a bid for the cable giant.

Macy's was down 4.4 percent after the company said its sales continued to decline in the second quarter.

MEDIA MALAISE: Shares in several other big media companies were down. The stock lost 78 cents to $3.93. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.21 percent from 2.25 percent late Wednesday.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 39 cents to settle at $49.56 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The weakness among oil service stocks comes even though the price of crude oil for September delivery is inching up USD0.01 to USD49.18 a barrel.

Spot gold added 0.7 percent to $1,286.00 an ounce. Silver gained 47 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $16.86 an ounce. Copper rose 1 cent to $2.91 a pound. The euro rose to $1.1824 from $1.1774. Major indexes in Asia closed lower. Germany's DAX was flat, while France's CAC 40 fell 1.1 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 sank 1.3 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.3%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 0.4%. Japan was closed on a public holiday. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.2 percent.

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