Worries grow as tensions rise between US, North Korea

Kim Jong fires missiles

GETTY WAR Kim has set his sights on the US heartland

The governor of Guam, facing threats from North Korea, said Wednesday that he wants a president who will respond with "fury" if US territories are attacked.

The warning came just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump told North Korea that any threat it presented to the United States would be met with "fire and fury".

USA stocks were lower around mid-day as tensions escalated between the United States and North Korea and disappointing quarterly results overshadowed a gain in June wholesale inventories, weak Q2 labor costs and better-than-expected productivity. The U.S., in turn, has heavily fortified Guam - in part to keep an eye on North Korea.

"Calming words from the US Secretary of State helped ease market concerns over potential armed conflict with North Korea", said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

Tokyo's Nikkei index had dropped 1.3% by the time European stock markets opened on Wednesday morning, with similar falls on the German and French bourses. Both slid to more than one-month lows.

At 0550 GMT, the S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.40 percent to 31,887 while the broader NSE Nifty lost 0.37 percent to 9,941.

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The Swiss franc jumped on Wednesday and higher yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar tumbled as the latest bout of geopolitical tensions emerging from the Korean Peninsula prompted investors to cut positions.

Thin liquidity could also amplify market moves, she added, with markets in Singapore closed for a public holiday and many market participants in Japan taking time off this week ahead of a public holiday on Friday.

MSCI's main index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, was last down 0.6 per cent.

All three USA stock market indices were down Wednesday morning.

Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said: "Equities are nursing losses thanks to an unwelcome escalation in geopolitical tensions between the USA and North Korea, both trading nuclear threats that have awoken volatility from its slumber and seen risk assets shunned in favour of the traditional safe havens". When the us military flew B-1 bombers over South Korea in a show of force last month after a North Korean ballistic missile test, the bombers took off from Guam. The U.S. currency was down 0.5 percent at 109.73 yen, following a retreat to 109.740, its weakest since June 15.

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