Asian stocks slump on profit-taking after US-NKorea tensions

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The Swiss franc and the yen had notched up impressive gains against the dollar on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump warned North Korea that it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States.

The benchmark USA yield on Thursday was just above 2.2 percent, at its lowest level since late June, as investors bought up Treasuries, a classic safe harbor.

The Canadian dollar hit a fresh four-week low against a broadly weaker US currency on Thursday, hurt by sharp losses on Wall Street and a fall in the price of oil as U.S.

The Canadian miner with four mines in the United States, a couple in Russian Federation and operations in Brazil and West Africa is now up more than 34% in 2017 affording it a market cap of $5.2 billion. 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.

Escalating tensions around Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions sent a shiver through markets worldwide and pushed the dollar to below 109.7 yen in afternoon forex trade to an eight-week low against the safe haven currency, piling more pressure on Japanese stocks.

At 11:03 a.m. ET (1503 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 110.36 points, or 0.5 percent, at 21,938.34, the S&P 500 was down 19.12 points, or 0.77 percent, at 2,454.90.

The CBOE Volatility Index, better known as the VIX and the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, rose the most in about 12 weeks.The index ended up 4.93 points at 16.04, the highest level since November 8, when Trump was elected president. The Nasdaq composite lost 18 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,352.

Shares of Macy's tumbled 8.3 percent and Kohl's 7.3 percent after the department store operators reported a drop in quarterly same-store sales that stoked concerns that their turnaround may still be a long way off. Kohl's also declined, sliding $2.53, or 6 percent, to $39.41.

Small-company stocks fell more than the rest of the market Wednesday.

Silver prices followed the gold prices in moving higher during the course of the last 24 hours as the global risk level rose and this pushed the funds into safe havens like gold and silver.

In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline dropped 2 cents to $1.60 a gallon, heating oil shed 2 cents to $1.63 a gallon and natural gas rose 10 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $2.99 per 1,000 cubic feet. Copper fell 2 cents to $2.90 a pound.

The Swiss franc reversed a two-week losing streak and gained 1.1 percent to 0.9611 per dollar.

Results also drove some sharp moves lower. The contract fell 97 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $48.59 a barrel on Thursday.

Spot gold added 1.3 percent to $1,277.15 an ounce.

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