S&P 500 Falls 1.4 Percent in Safety Flight on N. Korea Tensions

Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul at Mass for feast of the Assumption of Our Lady and Liberation Day at Myeongdong Cathedral. Image Seoul Archdiocese

The won stood at 1,141.5 against the U.S. dollar, its lowest intraday trading level since July 12. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.2 percent. 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.

After a dip of as much as 0.52 percent earlier in the day, investors appeared to take some comfort in Tillerson's comments, said Richard Steinberg, managing director at HighTower Advisors in NY. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was off 0.3 percent.

The S&P 500 (-5.99) and NASDAQ (-13.31) also recorded losses for the day.

Geopolitical concerns continued to weigh on Wall Street amid an ongoing escalation in tensions between the USA and North Korea. "They will be met with the fire and the fury like the world has never seen". The comments follow reports that the North has mastered a technology needed to strike the United States with a nuclear missile.

Amid broad based weakness on Wall Street, biotechnology stocks turned in some of the market's worst performances on the day. "It will not last long", said Seo.

The franc wasn't the only beneficiary to the risk-off sentiment sweeping markets. "But as past incidents involving the Korean Peninsula have shown, the impact on financial markets tends to fade away over a span of few days".

Losses in health care and consumer-focused companies pulled US stocks broadly lower Tuesday, snapping a 10-day winning streak for the Dow Jones industrial average. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 4.02 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,410.15. The market slide accelerated slightly in the last half-hour of trading as Trump denounced North Korea's nuclear program.

The consumer discretionary index was one of its biggest losers with a 0.47 per cent drop. Both were coming off record highs.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite bore the brunt of the sell-off, losing 135.46 points, or 2.1 percent, to 6,216.87. The price for underground complexes goes over 8 million dollars.

While European stocks have seen robust inflows in the wake of the French elections, their performance have lagged their US rivals since mid June. The slide deepened after Trump's remarks on North Korea aired. Against that backdrop, Dudley might provide an upbeat outlook and confirm that the Fed is on track for a rate hike, said Innes.

The dollar was steady at 110.005 yen after going as low as 109.560 overnight, its weakest in eight weeks. The euro rose to $1.1774 from $1.1752.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 97 cents, or 2 percent, to $48.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price global oils, gained 56 cents to $52.70 in London. It declined 23 cents on Tuesday to $52.14.

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