Swiss franc surges as Korea tensions rise

President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington Wednesday Aug. 2 2017

Technology companies, which suffered the brunt of the selling a day earlier, were back in the lead Friday.

At the other end of the index, G4S was the worst performer, closing down 5.1%.

"Trump's response was aggressive and that's why the (stock) market turned lower", said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities.

Valeant's stock, which rallied a day before following quarterly results, sank 9.6 percent to C$17.85 after it said its subsidiaries in Australia were the subject of a tax audit.

"I$3 t does appear to this economist that there is an acute shortage of cool heads at the top of the pyramids in both the United States and North Korea right now", Carl Weinberg of High Frequency Economics wrote in a note.

Crude oil futures are slipping USD0.10 to USD48.49 a barrel after tumbling USD0.97 to USD48.59 a barrel on Thursday.

When Japanese traders get back to their desks Monday, stocks will need to catch up with Friday's regional weakness and the yen's recent gains against the dollar, up 1.5% on the week. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at USD1.826 compared to yesterday's USD1.1772.

Canada's benchmark stock index fell on Wednesday as heightened tensions between North Korea and the United States drove investors away from higher-risk assets and toward safe havens, such as gold.

Trading was thinner than usual, with Japanese markets closed for a public holiday.

The US dollar set an eight-week low against the yen after US President Donald Trump further ratcheted up the rhetoric, suggesting that his "fire and fury" comments may not have been tough enough.

"They should be very nervous, because things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK?" Safe-haven perceived gold rose to a more than two-month high of $1291.99 an ounce during today's trading. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.13 percent higher, while Japan's Nikkei .N225 lost 0.30 percent.

Australian shares fell to near three-week lows in a broad-based selloff. The index had its biggest drop since mid-May a day earlier.

Nvidia also guided for an above-consensus third quarter.

"We are encouraged by our first-quarter performance, although we continue to believe that fiscal 2018 will be a transition year for our company, as we focus on laying the foundation for the future by executing on our strategic plan", he said.

The biggest fallers were Standard Life down 16p to 410.8p, Rio Tinto down 109.5p to 3,370p, Old Mutual down 6.2p to 195.3p, Anglo American down 39p to 1,238.5p.

"The UK headline index has crashed to the lowest level since late June, in a week which has turned from mundane to insane".

For the week, the London index is looking at a 2.4% drop, which would be its biggest weekly loss since April.

USA economic data did little to distract from the tensions with North Korea, as U.S. labour productivity increased by slightly more than expected in the second quarter. The Dow slumped by 1.1 percent, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 tumbled by 1.5 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

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