Global stocks shudder on Trump warnings to North Korea

A trader works on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange

USA stocks closed lower for the third day in a row Thursday, led by declines in technology companies and banks, two of the highest-performing sectors over the previous year.

USA stocks clawed back losses late on Wednesday as investors appeared to brush off geopolitical concerns after falling in the wake of President Donald Trump's "fire and fury" warning to North Korea.

S&P 500 e-minis were down 10.25 points, or 0.41 percent, with 180,193 contracts traded. The S&P 500 index was down 18.45 points to 2,455.57 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 68.32 points to 6,284.01.

Macy's shares closed down 10.2 percent and Kohl's fell nearly 6 percent as the companies continued to report a drop in quarterly same-store sales, stoking concerns that their turnarounds may still be a long way off. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled by 1.1 percent.

High-flying technology names suffered outsized losses on the day, with Apple falling 3.2 percent, Amazon 2.6 percent and Facebook 2.2 percent.

The Nasdaq is down 134.69 points, or 2.1 percent.

Six of the S&P 500 sectors ended higher.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand edged down by 0.1 percent in July after inching up by 0.1 percent in June.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 91.01 points to 15,126.32, after 90 minutes of trading.

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South Korea's KOSPI fell 1.7 percent to its lowest since May 24, but its losses for the week are a relatively modest 3.2 percent. The Korea tensions though have seen both USA and European markets this week push back expectations of when the Fed and ECB might hike interest rates.

'Stock markets in Europe are still under pressure because of the heightened tensions surrounding North Korea, ' said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

METALS: Gold, a traditional safe haven play, added $16.70, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $1,279.30 an ounce.

Away from the geopolitical drama, USA inflation data is due at 1330 GMT.

Hope that the Fed will have to slow its rate hike path appeared to stop, at least for now, the near $1-trillion loss in world stocks valuations this week triggered by the war of words between Pyongyang and the United States.

And in bond markets, 10-year U.S. Treasuries and Germany's ultra-safe government bonds, known as Bunds, were trading at their highest prices since June.

Tuesday's rise puts the Dow on track to post its 11th straight session of gains - the blue-chip index's longest streak since February - driven by a strong quarterly earnings season.

Wilmar International slipped 6.4 per cent or 22 cents to $3.20; Hongkong Land lost 2.1 per cent or 16 U.S. cents to US$7.34. Brent crude, used to price global oils, gained 56 cents to $52.70 in London.

USA crude was down 0.9 percent at $48.16 per barrel, on track for a weekly loss of 2.9 percent. The euro rose to $1.1824 from $1.1774.

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