Futures lower as N.Korea tensions extend to third day

Gold prices climbed to two-month highs on Friday, rising for the fourth straight day as investors sought refuge amid escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States, while bullion also received support from weak USA inflation data.

North Korea on Thursday detailed plans for a missile strike near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major indexes in Europe were mixed. It was last up 1.2 per cent at 1.1305 per euro.

"Of course it's all come at a time when share markets are due for a correction, so North Korea has provided a ideal trigger", he added.

Trump took specific aim at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday, saying he had "disrespected our country greatly" and would not be "getting away with it". South Korea's Kospi lost 1.7 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 2 percent. Natural gas gained 2 cents to $2.82 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Should North Korea launch a missile at the United States, the missile interceptors are near Fairbanks, at Fort Greely.

"While the US President insists on ramping up the war of words, there is a decreasing chance of any diplomatic solution", Carnell said.

In a tweet, President Donald Trump warned of military action "should North Korea act unwisely", noting that the U.S.is "locked and loaded". The pan-European STOXX 600 hit its lowest level since the end of March, down 1.1%.

Markets saw a tentative recovery in risk appetite in overnight United States and early Asian trading, but anxiety mounted again as Asian stocks fell back and London, Frankfurt and Paris dropped 0.5-1.2% in Europe. Apple is still up 35% for 2017 and hovers near a record high.

The Chinese volatility gauge jumped by the most since January 2016.

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The remarks followed a new report asserting that USA intelligence has assessed that Pyongyang has successfully produced a nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

Wall Street clawed back losses but closed slightly lower on Wednesday amid earnings disappointments by Walt Disney and other big companies and as investors appeared to brush off North Korea concerns.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 108.82 yen compared to the 109.20 yen it fetched at the close of NY trading on Thursday.

Although Japan could be in the front line of any clash with North Korea, the yen is benefitting because Japan is the world's biggest creditor nation and Japanese investors tend to repatriate funds in times of stress, attracting other flows.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region saw continued weakness during trading on Friday.

In commodities trading, United States crude oil was wallowing around $49 to the barrel amid speculation that a predicted gain in American output will offset OPEC-led efforts to trim a global glut.

Data on Friday showed US consumer prices rose less than expected in July, which was also supportive to gold.

Markets in Italy and Spain also saw big declines and while France's Cac 40 and Germany's Dax also ended the day in the red.

The market's main safe-haven, gold, hit a two-month high of 1278 an ounce.

"Japanese equities hadn't been rising much despite positive earnings results, so investors had started jumping at shadows, doubting whether they should really be holdings onto Japanese stocks".

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