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

Dollar slumps, Tokyo tanks as North Korea tensions spike

Dollar slumps, Tokyo tanks as North Korea tensions spike

USA -traded Nikkei futures (NKc1) fell 2 percent to their lowest since mid-May.

A Chinese state-run newspaper said on Friday that China should make clear that it will stay neutral if North Korea launches an attack that threatens the United States, but that if the USA attacks first and tries to overthrow North Korea's government, China will prevent it doing so.

Meanwhile, gold demand in India remained sluggish this week as local prices jumped to their highest level in almost three months and a rally in global prices dampened fresh buying elsewhere in Asia. The remarks, following North Korea's earlier revelation of a plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, gave investors a reason to pocket profit in the sectors such as technology that have been the biggest gainers in recent months, analysts said.

Against the dollar, the franc surged 0.6 percent to 0.9688 francs, reversing a two-week losing streak.

"For quite some time the market hasn't really reacted to things on the Korean Peninsula because we know from the past it is largely North Korean sabre-rattling, and it may yet be".

It was down 0.1 percent at 109.07 yen JPY= , after retreating 0.8 percent on Thursday.

The yen is perceived as a safe haven because Japan is the world's biggest creditor country and investors there have tended to repatriate funds in times of crisis.

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The dollar was up 0.05 percent to 109.25 yen JPY=, after earlier falling to a sixteen-week low following data showing US consumer prices rose less than expected in July. The DJIA was poised for a fall of 1.1%, making for its worst week since a 1.5% drop in the one ended March 24.

Disappointing US inflation and jobs data have not helped the dollar. "Risk aversion is still very much a concern for markets". The Russell 2000 index gave up 1.7 percent to 1,372.54.

Damage for the week: The days of verbal sparring between Washington and Pyongyang looks set to bruise weekly performances for the major US indexes.

Sterling was last trading at $1.3009, up 0.27 percent on the day. The contract fell 97 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $48.59 a barrel on Thursday.

"There are four more (inflation) prints between now and the December FOMC meeting and we expect the Fed to remain data-dependent, if a touch more cautious", said TD Securities in a research note.

USA crude fell 0.41 percent to $48.39 per barrel and Brent was last at $51.68, down 0.42 percent on the day.

Disappointing economic data releases weighed on both sides of the Atlantic today with a negative goods trade balance for the United Kingdom (-0.1% versus expectations of 1.4%), higher unemployment claims from the USA (244,000) and also a negative month-on-month PPI figure for the U.S. (-0.1%).

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