TSX closes 143 points lower, gold rises amid US-North Korean tensions

A man walks by a huge national flag printed on the wall in Seoul South Korea Wednesday Oct. 26 2016

U.S. stocks have closed slightly lower after making up much of the ground they lost earlier following a rare batch of earnings disappointments by Walt Disney and other big companies.

The Swiss franc was on track for its biggest daily gain against the euro since the Swiss National Bank removed its cap on the currency in January 2015.

"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".

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move.

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.

The dollar also slipped 0.26 percent lower against the yen to 110.01 yen.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite bore the brunt of the sell-off, losing 135.46 points, or 2.1 percent, to 6,216.87. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 71 points, or.32 percent, ending a 10-day streak of rises.

Gold hit its highest in nearly two months after Trump added to the geopolitical anxiety by boasting of the strength of the USA nuclear arsenal.

"We've had some competing forces play out over the past 12 hours - the USA dollar was stronger off economic data, but that was quickly reversed with President Trump's comments about North Korea earlier today (Wednesday)", said ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes.

North Korea announced that its leader Kim Jong Un was weighing a possibility to strike the US Pacific territory of Guam as a response to Donald Trump's earlier comments that any threats made by North Korea will be met "with fire and fury like the world has never seen".

Wall Street got off to a downbeat start early Thursday as tensions between the US and North Korea continued to escalate, rattling markets overseas. Gold quickly surged back above $1,260 per oz as investors sought safe haven assets, according. Gold prices increased 1% and the Swiss franc gained against all major currencies. The euro fell to $1.1735 from $1.1757.

Insurers and banks, which invest in higher-yielding products such as foreign bonds, underperformed after US Treasury yields fell on Wednesday, with the yields on the benchmark 10-year note hitting a six-week low.

In Europe, France's CAC 40 fell 1.6 percent to 5,135 while Germany's DAX was down 1.3 percent at 12,133.

The focus on North Korea largely overshadowed a Labor Department report showing an unexpected drop in USA producer prices in the month of July. Brent crude, used to price global oils, slid 80 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $51.90.

A series of downbeat corporate reports also weighed on US stocks.

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