US stocks suffer one of their worst weeks in months amid North Korea tensions – USA TODAY

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U.S. stocks closed slightly higher Friday, but still suffered one of their worst weeks in months amid continuing nuclear-fueled tension and threats between the U.S. and North Korea.

The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 index and Nasdaq ended the day with less than 1% gains as President Trump issued new warnings to the North Korea government of Kim Jong Un.

As a new report said both sides were also in back channel talks, the Dow closed up 0.7% at 21,858.32, the S&P rose 0.13% to 2,441.32 and the Nasdaq composite closed up 0.64% at 6256.56.

The outcomes represent the year’s second-worst weekly financial performance of the Dow and S&P, and the third-worst for Nasdaq.

Many financial analysts blamed the results on financial market uncertainty over the U.S.-North Korea blustering. 

“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,” Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlam said in a note to investors.

“The weekend brings an undefined amount of risk for investors, with the potential for circumstances to escalate both dramatically and unexpectedly at a time when markets are closed,” added Erlam.

Trump on Friday resumed his tough talk to North Korea, tweeting that “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.”

In contrast, the decades-long foes have continued quiet back channel diplomacy over their deteriorating relations and the issue of Americans hailed in the communist nation, the Associated Press reported.

Along with the international power struggle, Strategas analyst Chris Verrone suggested that the market’s overall strength in recent weeks could represent another rationale for the downbeat weekly performance.

“While it’s easy to look to geopolitical tension as the catalyst for Wednesday’s reversal and Thursday’s weakness, this is a market that has been leaking momentum for much of the summer,” Verrone said in a note to investors.

The selloff could open the door for buying opportunities, Verrone said. Among the impacts so far has been an investor move toward gold, which often serves as a safe haven for amid concerns about stock values. 

Gold has edged up toward $1,300 per ounce, the commodity’s highest level since early June, increasing on several consecutive days.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey and Kevin McCoy at @kmccoynyc.

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