Equities fall on rising tension between US & North Korea

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       Shares of Henkel whose products include Persil detergent fell Thursday

Getty Images Shares of Henkel whose products include Persil detergent fell Thursday

Traders reacted with dismay to his fresh warning Thursday that his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on the reclusive nuclear-armed state may not have been "tough enough".

"What has changed this time is that the scary threats and war of words between the U.S. 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, as quoted by Reuters. "It also saw the VIX post its 8th biggest spike in history, regaining levels last seen around the United States presidential election, and resulted in fresh preference for bonds and gold over equities and metals, and added to an already weak oil price".

"The FTSE has carried on where it left off on Thursday, with yet another day of risk-off sentiment seeing investors shift out of equities", said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG.

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Brent, the global crude benchmark, dropped 0.6% to $51.58 per barrel and WTI, the United States oil benchmark, slid 0.7% to $48.26 a barrel in recent trade. South Korea's KOSPI fell 1.8 percent to almost a three-month low. Shares in Glencore, Rio Tinto and Anglo American were all down by between 2.8% and 3.1%.

At the latest COMEX auctions, gold price ascended $1.90 to $1,292 an ounce, and silver price grew $0.02 to $17.09. Dixons Carphone plunged 8.2%, making it the biggest decliner on the STOXX 600. Chipmaker Infineon dropped 1.1% in Frankfurt and luxury fashion retailer Kering slid 1.7% in Paris.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index slid 1.63 percent, in Hong Kong the Hang Seng fell over two percent, and Japan's Nikkei finished the trading day 0.05 percent down.

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