Markets Right Now: Stocks drift lower on Wall Street

Markets Right Now: Stocks drift lower on Wall Street

North Korea responded with news that it was "examining" a plan to attack the US territory of Guam.

The North Korea situation isn't the only thing weighing on stocks. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 1.48 percent lower.

Japanese markets were closed for a holiday but the tense mood dragged Asian shares lower and an MSCI index of stocks across the globe was on track to post its largest weekly drop since the week before Donald Trump won the US presidential election in November.

"Although it is considered highly unlikely that this tension will escalate into a nuclear war, the market still needs to see how President Trump will eventually deal with his advocating "fire and fury" against North Korea's threat", said Margaret Yang Yan, market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore.

The index's losses mirrored global markets, which fell after incendiary words between the United States and North Korea.

European markets also slid in early trade after Wall Street indices suffered their biggest losses in almost three months Thursday, while the dollar struggled to recover from eight-week lows below 109 yen as investors fled to safe haven assets.

"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.

Japan is the world's biggest creditor nation and there is an assumption investors there will repatriate funds should a crisis eventuate.

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.

Australian shares fell to near three-week lows in a broad-based selloff.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche praises players' mentality in 'deserved' win at Chelsea
I'm very proud for this but today I saw two faces: "one positive in the second half and one negative in the first half". The Blues forced goalkeeper Tom Heaton into a couple of smart saves, in a hope of regaining a foothold in the match.

The Chinese volatility gauge jumped by the most since January 2016 to its highest level in more than seven months.

The dollar was further weighed Friday by the soft US inflation data.

The dollar index .DXY , which tracks the greenback against six rival currencies, was down 0.12 percent to 93.53, after rising as high as 93.888 earlier in the session.

The dollar was little changed against a basket of major currencies.

Disappointing US inflation and jobs data have not helped the dollar.

"Both (PPI measures) were well below consensus and give us no hope that consumer price inflation is going to materially beat expectations", said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Markets.

The Korean won also continued to fall, down 0.45 percent to 1,147.2.

Prices for bonds and gold headed higher.

USA producer prices unexpectedly recorded their biggest drop in almost a year, and the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week. Crude futures extended losses on the fear of slowing demand and lingering concern over a global oversupply.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.2 percent to 5,779.20, while South Korea's Kospi fell 1.1 percent to 2,342.19.

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