Asian stocks slump on profit-taking after US-NKorea tensions

A salesman arranges a gold necklace in a display case inside a jewellery showroom on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya in Kolkata

USA producer prices unexpectedly fell in July, pointing to a further moderation in inflation that could delay a Federal Reserve interest rate increase.

One options trader is betting on steeper losses for this semiconductor stock.

"The slight bias to the upside (in stocks) is a result of the CPI number".

US stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Thursday, as investors turned their attention to another batch of corporate earnings, while keeping their focus on rising tensions between North Korea and the U.S.

It comes as US President Donald Trump stepped up his rhetoric in the on-going North Korean nuclear missile stand-off.

The latest sell-off was the most severe yet, amounting to the biggest single-day drop for the stock market in almost three months.

"There's not a great incentive to buy big", said Lerner of SunTrust Advisory. The S&P 500 closed 0.24% lower at 2,474.92, with materials leading decliners.

The S&P 500 Index closed 1.5 percent lower, the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.1 percent and the Dow Jones Composite fell 1.4 percent.

Market analysts expect that the pullback in stocks due to the increasingly aggressive tone in exchanges between Washington and Pyongyang will continue, although investors hope that the selling will not escalate to a correction - a decline of 10 percent or more. The FTSE 100 of the United Kingdom declined 0.59 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished lower by 1.48 percent. The Russell 2000 index gave up 24.40 points, or 1.7 percent, to 1,372.54.

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

Mounting tensions lifted United States defense stocks.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS shed 0.77 percent, on track for its third straight day of declines as it pulled further back from all-time highs.

The RBNZ kept interest rates unchanged at a record low of 1.75 percent on Thursday.

The yen tends to benefit during times of geopolitical or financial stress as Japan is the world's biggest creditor nation and there is an assumption that Japanese investors will repatriate funds should a crisis materialize.

The dollar index .DXY , which measures against a basket of currencies, fell 0.05 percent.

The dollar was further weighed down on Friday by the soft USA inflation data.

And several high-profile investors like Ray Dalio and Jeff Gundlach offered buzzkills by suggesting that the second-longest bull market in history at least needs to take a breather. MCX Gold was trading 0.25 per cent up at Rs 28,915 per 10 gram around 10.45 am (IST). Against the yen, the euro last traded at 128.29 yen, down 0.2 percent.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.23 percent.

Falling crude prices made oil & gas stocks a weight too, dropping 1 percent with Tullow Oil the top faller.

Nonetheless, the Dow has surged about 3,800 points since Trump's victory in November.

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