Wall St opens lower as tensions with N.Korea escalate

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later insisted the USA isn't signalling it's about to mete out a military response despite threats from North Korea suggesting it could attack Guam, a US island territory in the Pacific.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average.DJI was up 7.32 points, or 0.03 percent, to 22,125.74, the S&P 500.SPX gained 1.71 points, or 0.07 percent, to 2,482.62 and the Nasdaq Composite.IXIC added 17.56 points, or 0.28 percent, to 6,401.33.

U.S. stock index futures are down, with the S&P 500 predicted to open 0.4 percent lower on Wednesday.

"The unpredictable nature of North Korea means it is hard to gauge exactly how likely an attack is, yet given the military power of both nations, there is no surprise we are seeing markets shift out of risk assets and into havens such as the yen and gold", said IG market analyst Joshua Mahony, in a note.

KOREA JITTERS: With President Donald Trump warning North Korea of "fire and fury", investors have become concerned that the war of words between Washington and Pyongyang could escalate.

IN A SKID: Avis Budget Group slumped 6.8% to $31.13 after the vehicle rental company cut its guidance following a weak second quarter.

All 11 major S&P sectors were lower and the consumer discretionary index .splrcd was the biggest loser with a 1 percent drop.

Oil prices settled lower after a volatile session on increasing exports from key OPEC producers and news of lower crude shipments from Saudi Arabia. Humana rose $3.59, or 1.4 percent, to $253.81.

USA 30-year bond yields, which move inversely to prices, also hit a six-week trough, while yields on US 2-year notes matched a low hit four weeks ago.

Priceline Group slumped 6.5 percent after issuing a profit forecast that was weaker than analysts were expecting.

Sterling was little changed at $1.3 and near a 2-1/2-week low, as investors looked to key data due next week for clues on the health of the British economy as the country prepares to leave the European Union.

Britain's FTSE100, Germany's DAX, French CAC and other stocks in Europe dropped more than a percent, following falls in Asia and on Wall Street. Travel-review website operator TripAdvisor was down 2.7 percent. Copper rose 4 cents to $2.94 a pound. The euro strengthened to $1.1756 from $1.1752. After touching all-time high of 22,179 on Tuesday, Dow Jones closed the day in negative. The U.S. currency was down 0.4 percent at 109.865 yen JPY=, following a retreat to 109.835, its weakest since mid-June.



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