North Korea nerves push stocks to worst week since November

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The index ended up 4.93 points at 16.04, the highest level since November 8, when Trump was elected president.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 68.30 points, or 1.08 percent, at 6,284.03. "That reset is being triggered by North Korea geopolitical concern and stretched valuations", said Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group in NY.

Australian shares were down 1.3 percent, set for a weekly loss of 0.6 percent and Chinese and Hong Kong bluechips lost 1.6 percent and 1.9 percent respectively.

But although US equities on Wednesday managed to close only slightly down even after Trump's warning that "fire and fury" would rain on North Korea, on Thursday the chickens came home to roost on Wall Street.

"What has changed this time is that the scary threats and war of words between the USA and North Korea have intensified to the point that markets can't ignore it", said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital in Sydney.

Apart from the war of words between North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un and Mr. Trump, the market faces fresh uncertainties from central banks and politicians in the second half of 2017.

"I do think I expect inflation to also start to move higher in the medium term but probably not get all the way back to 2-percent on a year-over-year basis, because, remember, we've had these very weak inflation readings for a number of month", Dudley said.

Cracks are showing in what has been a virtually non-stop USA equity rally after a rapid escalation of tension between North Korea and the United States this week.

The CBOE Volatility Index - a measure of investors' expectations for swings in the S&P 500 over the next 30 days - surged 44% to 16.04 Thursday - its highest level since U.S. Election Day.

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The MSCI World index slipped 0.1 percent, extending Thursday's 1.1 percent drop, its biggest one-day slide since May 17, as U.S. President Donald Trump stepped up his rhetoric against North Korea.

Subdued U.S. inflation has stirred doubts about the chances of another Fed interest rate hike this year, which have weighed on the dollar.

Later on Friday, investors will look to U.S. July consumer price data for hints on the Federal Reserve's policy outlook and near-term moves in the dollar. It hit a 15-month low of 92.548 on August 2.

Escalating tensions around Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions sent a shiver through markets worldwide and pushed the dollar to below 109.7 yen in afternoon forex trade to an eight-week low against the safe haven currency, piling more pressure on Japanese stocks. They were at 2.201 percent on Friday.

Markets are now focused on USA consumer price data for July, due later in the session.

The influential financial stocks were among the biggest drags on the index, with Royal Bank of Canada down 1.5 percent to C$92.88, and Manulife Financial Corp falling 4.7 percent to C$24.43, its largest drop since early August previous year.

Crude futures extended losses on fears of slowing demand and lingering concerns over a global oversupply meanwhile.

Global benchmark Brent lost 0.3 percent to $51.76, after Thursday's 1.5 percent drop. It is poised to end the week down 1.9 percent.

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