Published: Mon, August 14, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Investors seek safe bets as Wall Street closes lower

Investors seek safe bets as Wall Street closes lower

He also said the nuclear-armed nation should be "very, very nervous" if it even thinks about attacking the United States or its allies.

The decline followed overnight losses on Wall Street. Gold and bond prices were headed higher.

The S&P 500 closed 0.24 percent lower at 2,474.92, with materials leading decliners. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 204.69 points, or 0.9 percent, to 21,844.01, just shy of its low point for the day.

"The escalation of the geopolitical situation between the USA and North Korea is beginning to rattle investors' nerves as was witnessed in the VIX index yesterday", said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial. Pyongyang said it was examining plans for attacking Guam, a USA territory in the Pacific with a military base.

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.

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THE QUOTE: While the tough talk about the potential for nuclear war is scary, investors have heard it many times before.

"There are four more (inflation) prints between now and the December FOMC meeting and we expect the Fed to remain data-dependent, if a touch more cautious", TD Securities said in a research note.

An index of 15 gold miners tracked by Bloomberg Intelligence climbed 1.1 per cent, led by Toronto-based Yamana Gold Inc. Also, the figures and forecasts of vehicle rental company Avis were disappointing and that share trimmed 10 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 sank 0.7 percent to 7,447.21.

The euro held steady at $1.1776. Germany's DAX was flat, while France's CAC 40 fell 1.1 percent.

Investors were also hesitant about buying smaller companies as the Russell 2000 index was down 0.05 percent on Friday, and was more than 5 percent off its July 25 record close. The company booked a hefty charge and said its CFO is leaving the company.

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The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.75 per cent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.33 per cent.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.7% at closing, France's CAC 40 fell 1.4% after a auto hit a group of soldiers in Paris in what is thought to have been a deliberate act, and a fall in bond yields saw Germany's DAX down 1.1%. The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.4 percent to 3,261.75.

Markets overseas were mixed Tuesday. The Dow slid 0.2 percent to 22,085.34. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was off 0.3 percent.

Bond prices were little changed.

Investors on Thursday scampered to safe-haven assets such as gold and the Swiss franc, helping the precious metal hit a more two-month high. Silver also rose, gaining 43 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $16.82 an ounce. However, banks such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase saw earlier gains in the air on reports that California insurance regulator has ordered probe of Wells Fargo & Co. and an insurance company auto policies.

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