'N. Korean Provocation Increased Market Volatilities'

Corporate Earnings Chart August 10

Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

"The decline has been caused by the uncertainty created by the north Korean crisis", said the manager Alan Skrainka, Cornerstone Wealth Management.

Besides, persistent buying by local jewellers at domestic spot market stoked the uptrend.

METALS: Gold added $10.80, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $1,290.10 an ounce.

The market jitters gave investors an opportunity to pocket some of their recent gains following a string of record highs fueled by strong corporate earnings.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 204.69 points to 21,844.01, while the S&P 500 index dropped 35.81 points to 2,438.21 and the Nasdaq composite index slid 135.46 points to 6,216.87. The fact that ended with a 1%-plus drop, however, might be good news. Bond and gold prices, traditional havens for nervous investors, were little changed, and the VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, fell 3.3 percent following a 44.4 percent jump the day before.

Investor focus now turns to Friday's US consumer price index data.

The index was also dragged lower after Beijing ordered probes into three major Chinese social networking platforms over outlawed content.

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

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But the S&P Bank sub-sector fell 0.7 percent on dimming prospects of another rate hike this year since higher rates tend to boost bank profits.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,467. Prices for bonds and gold headed higher. The company also said sales at its established stores declined for the fourth straight quarter.

Sterling slipped below $1.30, close to a two-and-a-half-week low but it strengthened against the euro by 0.2%, following Tuesday's 10-month low.

The Straits Times Index sank 1.31 per cent or 43.52 points to 3,279.72, down 1.4 per cent for the week.

But in the US, Wall Street opened tentatively higher as consumer inflation data showed signs of life after months of weakening price pressure. Humana Inc. rose $4.74, or 1.9 percent, to $254.96.

But then oil prices succumbed to the overall selling pressure for risky assets, aided by an OPEC report showing crude production by cartel members increased slightly in July, including Saudi Arabia, which had championed efforts by the organization and its allies to extend an output freeze.

The December gold contract was ahead US$16.70 to US$1,279.30 an ounce.

The local currency was trading at 1,145.05 won against the USA dollar, down 3.05 won from the previous session's close. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down almost 0.1 percent.

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