Equities fall on rising tension between US & North Korea

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USA stocks indexes were higher in afternoon trading on Friday, on track to snap a three-day losing streak, as tepid inflation data brought back investors to riskier assets, despite heightened tensions between the United States and North Korea.

U.S. President Donald Trump, in his latest warning to North Korea, said military solutions were "fully in place" and referred to American weapons as being "locked and loaded" should the nuclear-armed nation act "unwisely". The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.22 percent from 2.26 percent late Tuesday.

Gold enjoyed another strong session as traders sought out safe havens, with the price lifting 0.1% to 1,287.8 United States dollars an ounce.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 1.5 percent at 1,013 points as of 0834 GMT, taking its year-to-date loss to 12 percent.

Significant strength was also visible among software stocks, as reflected by the 1.2% gain posted by the Dow Jones Software Index.

Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang added to pressure from lower oil prices. The umbrella financials group slipped 0.3 percent. The precious metal miners benefited from the flight to safety, with bullion prices hitting near two-month highs on North Korean worries.

The Nasdaq Composite number was down 16.88 points, or 0.26 per cent, at 6,353.58. Disappointing company earnings also helped pull the market lower, with consumer-focused companies and technology stocks among the biggest decliners.

Meanwhile, markets in Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries were also lower, and so-called futures signaled that USA markets would also open down.

"I think the market was looking for a reason to come off here", said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds. Copper fell 2 cents to $2.93 a pound. Brent crude, used to price global oils, gained 56 cents to $52.70 in London.

Nvidia's quarterly revenue in its data center and automotive businesses missed estimates, dragging the chipmaker's shares down 5.43 percent. Silver gained 20 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $17.07 an ounce. Wholesale gasoline dropped 2 cents to $1.60 a gallon, while heating oil shed 2 cents to $1.63 a gallon.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 97 cents, or 2 percent, to $48.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Sterling was also down 0.1% versus the euro at 1.104.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were Coca-Cola HBC up 219p to 2,592p, WorldPay up 19p to 407.5p, Randgold Resources up 95p to 7,475p, WPP up 19p to 1,581p.

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 per cent to C$24.43, its largest drop since early August previous year.

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