US-North Korea Tensions Cause Market Volatility; Oil Prices Slide — GLOBAL SNAPSHOT

Stock markets were lower and the price of gold moved up amid political tensions between the United States and North Korea.

The local market followed the lead of Wall Street and Europe's retreat from the escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea with the ASX 200 and All Ordinaries both falling around 1.2 per cent.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones index dropped 0.9 percent, or 204,69 points, to 21 844,01.

There were falls of almost 2% on South Korea's Kospi and Hong Kong's Hang Seng, with markets in mainland China and Australia also down - taking their cues from sharp losses on Wall Street earlier. "What we're seeing today is political tensions over North Korea and the United States. making people nervous", said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth in NY.

"The war of words between Donald Trump and North Korean officials has stepped up in recent days and has put investors on edge, prompting a more risk averse approach in the markets", said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.

Geopolitical tensions between the United States and North Korea has led to a break of key resistance line for the gold price.

The yen has also registered its biggest weekly gain since May against the dollar amid speculation that investors of Japan, as the biggest creditor nation, would repatriate their funds should a war break out.

The pound was unchanged against the dollar at $1.2981 and up 0.15% against the euro at 1.1040 euros. The Hang Seng index ended down 1.1% at 27444.00 points.

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Australian shares were down 1.5 percent, set for a weekly loss of 0.8 percent.

Hong Kong shed more than one percent and Shanghai also closed lower, while Seoul shares continued their sell-off after slumping Wednesday, with the won again softening.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 28 cents to $49.84 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The market also awaited U.S. consumer inflation data on Friday that would offer more clues about the pace of the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary tightening.

"There are four more (inflation) prints between now and the December FOMC meeting and we expect the Fed to remain data-dependent, if a touch more cautious", TD Securities said in a research note.

JAPAN MACHINERY DISAPPOINTS: Orders for machinery in June, considered a leading economic indicator, were slower than analysts had forecast and at their weakest since May 2016.

The market's main backstop in times of strain, gold, hit a two-month high of $1,282 an ounce amid the nervousness. Gold has rallied 2.6% this week, while the 10-year Treasury yield touched a six-week low of 2.1%.

USA crude rose 0.43 percent to $48.80 per barrel and Brent was last at $52.01, up 0.21 percent on the day.

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