EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Slide As U.S.-North Korea Strife Sends Haven Assets Higher

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Novo Nordisk raises outlook

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European stocks were driven sharply lower Wednesday as rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea escalated.

In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 dropped 1.1% to 12,160 and in Paris, the CAC 40 index was shoved down 1.3% to 5,152.

Those moves contributed to a 0.7% loss for the pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 to 380.07. The benchmark was on course for its biggest percentage fall in nearly two weeks.

The selloff came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an explicit threat of to strike a U.S. military base in Guam (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/north-korea-threatens-missile-strike-on-us-base-on-guam-2017-08-08).

His order, reported in state media, came hours after U.S. President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang not to "make any more threats" to the U.S, saying it would face a "fire and fury" response (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-today-president-says-north-korea-faces-fire-and-fury-if-it-doesnt-halt-threats-2017-08-08) "like the world has never seen." Trump's comments came after a Washington Post report (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korea-now-making-missile-ready-nuclear-weapons-us-analysts-say/2017/08/08/e14b882a-7b6b-11e7-9d08-b79f191668ed_story.html?utm_term=.0938becb046e) that North Korea has built a miniaturized nuclear warhead.

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The "negative European open comes as U.S.-North Korean nuclear tensions rise, dampening appetite for risk assets (equities, industrial commodities) in favor of traditional safe havens (gold, silver, bonds, Japanese yen, Swiss franc)," wrote Accendo Markets head of research Mike van Dulken.

"That said, the market has, thus far, been limited ... with a mixed bag in Asia overnight following small losses for Wall Street's index trio," he said. Korea's Kospi stock benchmark lost 1.1% as geopolitical concerns grew, while U.S. stock futures ahead of Wednesday's trade (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-pull-back-on-rising-north-korea-tensions-2017-08-09) were modestly lower.

No sector on the Stoxx 600 moved higher, and the worst performing were the financial , basic materials and industrial groups.

Shares of gold miners Polymetal International PLC (POLY.LN) and Fresnillo PLC (FRES.LN) were among the relatively few advancers, tracking gains of roughly 1% for gold prices to $1,273.70 an ounce.

A more than 1% jump in the Swiss franc against the dollar pressured Swiss stocks, pulling the SMI lower by 1.3%.

The euro fetched $1.1732, down from $1.1752 late Wednesday in New York.

In other developments Wednesday, shares of Novo Nordisk A/S surged 6% after the Danish drug maker raised its growth targets for the year (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/novo-nordisk-profit-flat-upbeat-on-sales-outlook-2017-08-09-2485406) on expectations of robust sales of its type-2 diabetes drug Victoza and long-acting insulin Tresiba.

In London, the FTSE 100 fell 0.7% to 7,493 and Spain's IBEX 35 moved down 0.9% to 10,642.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 09, 2017 05:19 ET (09:19 GMT)