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13 August 2017, 09:13 | Austin Hogan
Stocks Close Mostly Lower Amid Geopolitical Concerns - US Commentary
Investors' unease over escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea had weighed on stocks earlier in the day, pushing gold and bond prices slightly higher.
Weaker-than-expected July consumer price data pointed to benign inflation that could cause the Federal Reserve to hold off from raising rates again this year. That weighed on bank shares, which were down the most.
The technology sector was the biggest weight on the S&P 500 index with a 1.9-percent drop. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite declined 0.68% and the Shenzhen Composite shed 0.52%.
Significant strength is also visible among computer hardware stocks, as reflected by the 1.1 percent advance by the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index.
"The tension between the USA and North Korea is still dominating the news and it is looming over the financial markets", said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
INFLATION: The Labor Department said consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent in July following no gain in June. Inflation has risen 1.7 percent over the past 12 months, suggesting that inflation pressures remain well under control. But some economists say the Fed may stand pat for the rest of 2017 unless inflation accelerates in coming months.
Tensions between the USA and North Korea continued to simmer early Friday.
Overseas investors pulled a net $232.9 million from South Korea's equities market Friday, trimming its year-to-date inflows to $7.6 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg using official figures.
Investors reacted by driving up the price of gold and bonds, traditional safe-haven plays. It's still the highest it's been since May.
Data storage company Seagate Technology (STX) is posting a standout gain within the hardware sector, climbing by 2.1 percent. KLA-Tencor gained $2.62, or 3 percent, to $90.17.
BIG GAINERS: Health care stocks were among the big gainers. The stock added $3.44 to $37.91. The company also said sales at its established stores declined for the fourth-straight quarter.
Biotechnology, tobacco, and transportation stocks also saw considerable strength, while steel stocks extended a recent move to the downside. Nvidia's data center business grew more than 50% to $416m but it still missed FactSet analysts' estimates of $423m. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 36.64 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,048.70. Higher interest rates can help boost banks' revenue from loans. On the Nasdaq, 1 378 issues rose and 892 fell.
US crude rose 0.41 percent to $48.79 per barrel and Brent was last at $52.01, up 0.21 percent.
The weakness among oil service stocks came despite an increase by the price of crude oil, as crude for September delivery climbed $0.39 to $49.56 a barrel.
The dollar slipped to 109.04 yen from 109.26 late Thursday. Humana rose $4.74, or 1.9 percent, to $254.96.
BONDS: Bond prices were rose.
10-Year Treasury Yield 2.19% -0.008%.
"However, if the rhetoric does ramp up, even without actual nuclear follow through, this could spook the market and make it hard for stock indices to rally into late summer due to the fears for global trade and global growth". Britain's FTSE 100 was down 1.1 percent. The index is bouncing off its lowest closing level in six months.
Japanese markets were closed for a holiday but the tense mood dragged Asian shares lower and an MSCI index of stocks across the globe was on track to post its largest weekly drop since the week before Donald Trump won the USA presidential election in November.
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Turnbull added: "If North Korea decides to carry out some of its violent threats, then obviously bad consequences will follow". Trump has said he would not allow Pyongyang to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States.
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