Korean shares extend losses amid escalating tensions over N. Korea

Korean shares extend losses amid escalating tensions over N. Korea

"North Korea responding with a threat to United States territory after Trump warned them not to threaten the USA was never going to go down well", Lawler said.

Still, analysts said the market seemed to be a bit skeptical that the North Korea situation would grow into a major crisis, noting that the losses were still not that deep.

"The war of words between Donald Trump and North Korean officials has stepped up in recent days and has put investors on edge, prompting a more risk averse approach in the markets".

North Korea on Thursday outlined details for a missile strike near the U.S. territory of Guam, adding fuel to rising tensions with the United States.

"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely".

In other news, U.S. wholesale inflation dropped in July, the first contraction in almost a year and another data point that could weaken the case for the Federal Reserve to raise the benchmark interest rate again later this year. Economists had expected prices to rise by 0.2 percent.

The Labour Department said that its Consumer Price Index inched up 0.1% last month, pointing to subdued inflation which could make Federal Reserve policy makers cautious regarding another interest rate hike in 2017.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices still crept up by 0.1 percent in July, matching the increases seen in the three previous months.

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Still, the S&P and the Dow were on track to post their biggest weekly loss in about five months and the Nasdaq on course to post its biggest weekly fall in about six weeks.

At 10:57 a.m. ET (1457 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 54.38 points, or 0.25 percent, at 21,898.39, the S&P 500 was up 8.69 points, or 0.35 percent, at 2,446.90.

The rhetoric, which began late Tuesday and continued into Friday, interrupted stocks' march higher and cracked the calm that has enveloped the market for months.

The Russian dollar-traded index RTS was down 1.49 percent, and ruble-traded MICEX fell 1.29 percent by midday. The Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. While the German DAX Index has edged down by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index are both down by 1 percent.

"Despite Brent Crude (oil) pushing above $53 per barrel.there was a sea of red in the commodity sector", said analyst Connor Campbell from Spreadex.

The local currency was trading at 1,147.55 won against the USA dollar, down 5.55 won from the previous session's close.

The pound was down 0.09% against the euro at 1.1049 and down nearly 0.2% on the dollar at 1.2978.

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