Nikkei edges down ahead of holiday as investors warily eye North Korea

Nikkei edges down ahead of holiday as investors warily eye North Korea

The heavyweight financials sector, which accounts for more than a third of the index's weight, was down 0.25 percent as USA and Canadian bond yields fell.

Shares of Manulife, which reported better-than-expected results, fell after the company played down talk of a John Hancock spin-off.

Canada-listed shares of Tahoe Resources Inc fell 1.8 percent to C$6.48 after the miner said it would stop paying dividends and suspended overall guidance amid uncertainty about its operations in Guatemala. A rise in expectations for global inflation has left investors generally short of the two currencies and the turnaround in the franc this week by contrast follows its worst week since the Swiss National Bank removed a ceiling on the currency in January 2015.

On Bay Street, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index shed a moderate 40.87 points to 15,033.38.

The Korean story has seen the yen gain around 1.5 percent this week, its biggest rise since mid-May.

"I think the market was looking for a reason to come off here", said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds.

"What has changed this time is that the scary threats and war of words between the USA and North Korea have intensified to the point that markets can't ignore it", said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital in Sydney.

A sub-index of global gold miners that is dominated by Canada-listed stocks jumped 2 percent as escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea pushed up gold prices and weighed on global stock markets.

At 4 p.m. ET (2000 GMT), the Canadian dollar CAD=D4 was trading at C$1.2741 to the greenback, or 78.49 USA cents, down 0.4 percent and its weakest since July 14.

The S&P 500 index had its biggest one-day drop since May as investors fled riskier assets, while prices for oil, a major Canadian export, fell more than 1.5 percent. TMX Group Ltd was up 3.2 percent to C$68.02, while Quebecor Inc added 4.3 percent to C$45.20 and Canadian Tire Corp Ltd climbed 5.7 percent to C$149.89.

Nevsun Resources Ltd offset some of the material group's gains, plunging 16.4 percent to C$2.75 after the company reported disappointing quarterly results.

Related News: