World markets slide for third day on political tension

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The markets may benefit from bargain hunting, as some traders look to pick up stocks at reduced levels following the pullback seen over the past few sessions.

But Wall Street is wondering whether the sell-off is due to North Korea - or just a widely anticipated pullback?

"If you strip away what's going on in North Korea, and if you strip away what's going on in Washington, which are things that are tougher to predict, the economy, the global recovery, earnings, it all paints a very positive picture for the rest of the year", Kravetz said. "The verbal jabs coming out of Pyongyang and D.C., I think, are more about negotiating than communicating action", said Mitchell Goldberg, president of ClientFirst Strategy.

"Of course, it's all come at a time when share markets are due for a correction, so North Korea has provided a ideal trigger". North Korea threatened a missile strike at USA territory Guam. North Korea meanwhile has threatened to strike Guam. "Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!" Consumer-focused companies and technology stocks slumped.

The financial index had risen earlier in the session after the Labor Department said US job openings, a measure of labor demand, jumped to a record high in June to the highest level since December 2000. The Producer Price Index (or PPI) fell 0.10%, while the market had forecast a rise of 0.10%.

The euro was 0.14 percent higher against the dollar.

The dollar rose against a trade-weighted basket of currencies on Thursday as investors consolidated positions with the low-yielding Swiss franc and Japanese yen supported amid deepending anxiety over tensions between the United States and North Korea.

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Similar to the S&P 500, the Nasdaq Composite Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also started the day lower and trended lower on August 10.

On that note, the Global Times also pointed out that: "if the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern on the peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so".

Apple (AAPL.O) pared gains after rising as much as 1.91 percent to an all-time high and provided the biggest boost to all three indexes, while healthcare stocks such as Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) were the biggest weight on the S&P.

Thin liquidity could also amplify market moves, she added, with markets in Singapore closed for a public holiday and many market participants in Japan taking time off this week ahead of a public holiday on Friday. U.S. Treasury yields fell Wednesday with yields on the 10-year note at a six-week low.

Elsewhere in commodities, the September crude contract advanced 20 cents to US$49.76 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was up seven cents to US$2.95 per mmBTU.

The price of gold rose 1% to $1,274.39 per ounce, with Fresnillo and Randgold Resources up 72p to 1,544p and 200p to 7,380p respectively.

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