TSX falls as North Korea tensions spur flight to safety

Trump pounds North Korea

Trump pounds North Korea

The Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 78.67 cents USA, down 0.04 of a USA cent.

The recent resilience of data on the United States economy has not dampened the latest climb, despite depressing prices earlier in the week as reports returned high employment figures ahead of further USA inflation information this week.

"The market was bound to go down eventually, and with the Dow in the low 20,000s, this is not a big retreat to worry about", Goldberg said.

Nikkei 225 futures were last up 0.20% at 19770 suggesting a stronger opening at Tokyo on Thursday. The consecutive drops were primarily in response to the frightening feud between North Korea's Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump, who promised to hit North Korea with "fire and fury" if it makes any further threats to the U.S. Kim immediately responded by threatening Guam - a U.S. territory - with a preemptive nuclear strike.

"The stand-off between the two countries has encouraged dealers to dump stocks and seek safe haven investments such as gold".

The Dow and the S&P clung to tiny gains on Tuesday after scaling new records as support from technology stocks offset weakness in the healthcare and materials sectors.

Shares of Apple, Amazon and Facebook fell more than 2% Thursday.

"Heightened geopolitical risks overnight have seen the markets flip from risk-on to risk-off and we have to wait and see how long this move runs before adding some positions", said Viraj Patel, an FX strategist at ING in London.

The overall financials group, which accounts for roughly a third of the index, declined 1.4 percent, while energy shares also fell 1.4 percent as oil prices turned down.

In early United Kingdom corporate news, financial services conglomerate Old Mutual reported a significant rise in profit in the first half of 2017, and said it remains on track for the separation of its constituent businesses in 2018.

Yields on core government debt fell.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 39.02 points to 15,217.33, with most sectors finishing in the red while bullion stocks surged almost 1.9 per cent. USA crude-oil inventories fell by 6.5 million barrels to 1.15 billion barrels, the Energy Information Administration said. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Pyongyang it should stop any actions that would lead to the "end of its regime and the destruction of its people".

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed down 143.08 points, or 0.94 percent, at 15,074.25, its lowest close since July 7. Brent crude, used to price global oils, gained 40 cents to $52.54 in London. It is now on track for its biggest weekly drop since the week before the November 8 USA presidential election. Consumer-focused companies and banks were among the biggest decliners.

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

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