Stock markets lower, gold price continues to rise amid political tensions

By Kimberly Chin

By Kimberly Chin

ANALYST'S TAKE: "The tensions between North Korea and the U.S.is an excuse for profit-taking", Seo Sang Young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. The hope, and perhaps the expectation, is that this latest round of rhetoric will also turn out to be just talk, said Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, losing $166.50 to $1,882.50. The stock lost $4.08 to $102.90.

Stocks going ex-dividend included BT, Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: 0LN9.L - news), BP, Lloyds, and pharma companies GSK and AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN - news), taking around 41 points off the index.

Gold miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo were among the only gainers on the FTSE, up 1.9 to 2.3 percent as investors rushed to the safety of gold. Discovery Communications fell 94 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $23.36. The Russell 2000 index gave up 1.7 percent to 1,372.54. On the Nasdaq, 1 685 issues fell and 615 advanced favoring decliners.

"Trump has upped the ante so the market is having to price in possible military intervention", said Jasper Lawler, head of research, at London Capital Group, in a note.

Canadian Tire Corp Ltd rose 3.4 percent to C$146.65. July's 0.1 percent increase in consumer prices suggests that the Federal Reserve may be less likely to raise interest rates next month.

A slowdown in Chinese fiscal spending (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinas-fiscal-spending-growth-slows-2017-08-11) also hit commodities stocks, as the sector is highly exposed to growth and spending on infrastructure projects in China.

Nevsun Resources Ltd offset some of the material group's gains, plunging 18.4 percent to C$2.685 after the company reported disappointing quarterly results.

The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.64 cents U.S., down from an average price of 78.71 cents United States on Wednesday.

Barrick Gold Corp rose 2.1 percent to C$21.7, while Goldcorp Inc rose 0.9 percent to C$16.29. It slid 80 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $51.90 per barrel on Thursday. The index has fallen to its lowest intraday level in well over a month. Gold is often seen as a safe haven for investors during uncertain times, such as the heated exchanges between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean regime. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, declined 23 cents to $51.67 per barrel in London.

In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.61 a gallon, while heating oil was little changed at $1.63 a gallon. Copper fell 2 cents to $2.93 a pound. Natural gas was also flat at $2.98 per 1,000 cubic feet.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 109.97 yen from 110.48 yen late Tuesday.

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