Officials in Guam say it's safe from North Korea

Reuters

Regional stocks remained lower throughout the session after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an explicit threat to strike a USA military base in Guam (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/north-korea-threatens-missile-strike-on-us-base-on-guam-2017-08-08).

ANALYST'S TAKE: The U.S.jobs figure "was through the roof" and the NFIB survey "painted a much better picture for the U.S. economy than most believed", Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a report.

President Donald Trump that it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States as a "load of nonsense", and outlined detailed plans for a missile strike near the Pacific territory of Guam.

The last time the S&P closed down more than 1 percent was May 17 when it fell 1.8 percent.

"North Korea was fodder for the overnight trade, and as we headed into today we haven't seen any more saber-rattling", said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. The S&P 500 was down 6 points, or 0.25 percent, and the Nasdaq was down 35 points, or half a percent.

Investments regarded as safe havens had a strong showing in Europe Wednesday.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: "European stocks have suffered greatly as traders were prompted to cut-and-run due to the escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea". The back-and-forth statements from the two countries followed a Washington Post report on a USA intelligence confidential assessment that concluded North Korea has made a miniaturized nuclear warhead that will fit inside its missiles.

Korea's Kospi stock benchmark lost 1.1% as geopolitical concerns grew, clipping its year-to-date gain to 16.9%.

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South Korean shares, which have been among the strongest performers in the world so far this year, fell 1 percent, while the won sank around 0.6 percent to 1,134.5 to the dollar.

Semafo jumped 10.3 percent to C$2.99 after Credit Suisse raised its recommendation on the gold miner to "outperform" from "neutral" following its second-quarter results, and Finning International Inc rose 6.9 percent to C$27.63 after the heavy equipment company reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations and raised its dividend. While the UK's FTSE 100 Index has slumped by 1.5%, the German DAX Index is down by 1.1% and the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.8%. The NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index plunged by 3.4 percent to its lowest closing level in well over a month.

But despite the largest percentage drop in over a month on a global equities index, U.S. equities ended only slightly lower as healthy corporate earnings and a recent string of strong economic data enticed investors into beaten-down stocks.

The Swiss franc was on pace for its biggest single-day rise against the euro since the Swiss National Bank removed its cap on the currency in January 2015.

Oil prices rose after a report showed USA refineries processed record amounts of crude in the latest week, eating into inventories.

Oil prices settled lower after a volatile session on increasing exports from key OPEC producers and news of lower crude shipments from Saudi Arabia.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 109.77 yen from Tuesday's 110.34.

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