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11 Agosto 2017, 05:37 | Azura Castelo
Gold gains about 1% as US-North Korea tensions grow
London stocks stumbled lower as Thursday's session was dogged by continued geopolitical tensions over the US-North Korea situation, uninspiring United Kingdom economic data and a heavyweight bunch of stocks going ex-dividend.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 1.19%.
Missile makers Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have outperformed Wall Street by nearly 4 percent in recent days and the Dow Jones U.S. defence index is at a record high and on a seven-day unbroken run of gains.
Significant weakness is also visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 2.2 percent loss being posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.
Traditional safe-haven currencies including the Swiss franc and Japanese yen rose against the United States dollar, while those from emerging markets slid. Operating profits were 5% higher to £2.4bn (consensus: £2.02bn) on an IFRS basis and at constant exchange rates but 15% ahead at current exchange rates.
"When you have a market like we have had this year, and it has been amazingly calm, and you introduce a major source of uncertainty, there is bound to be some reaction", said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial.
Rising geopolitical tensions were heightened further when U.S. President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang it should be "very, very nervous" if it even thinks about attacking the United States or its allies, after Pyongyang said it was making plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.
Nevsun Resources Ltd offset some of the material group's gains, plunging 16.4 per cent to C$2.75 after the company reported disappointing quarterly results.
Oil prices closed lower after an early rally faded.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 39 cents to settle at $49.56 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
U.S. crude rose 0.69 per cent to US$49.51 per barrel and Brent was last at US$52.66, up 1 per cent on the day. The fact that ended with a 1%-plus drop, however, might be good news.
In an inversion of the curve, the spot VIX rose above VIX futures, meaning traders are paying more for protection against a sudden sharp drop on the S&P than for protection in the future. Netflix was down 1.8 percent.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 109.87 yen from 110.48 yen late Tuesday.
USA crude oil inventories fell by 6.5 million barrels to 1.15 billion barrels while gasoline inventories rose 3.4 million barrels to 231.1 million barrels in the week ended August 4, the Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday. It was last up 1.1 per cent at 1.1321 per euro.
Major stock indexes overseas also racked up losses Thursday. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 13.20 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,396.95. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was off 0.3 percent. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.5 percent.
Not long after midday, the FTSE was down 1.17% to 7,410.07, with the more domestically focused FTSE 250 down 0.4%.
The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand edged down by 0.1% in July after inching up by 0.1% in June.
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