LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Ends Lower As U.S.-North Korea Tensions Prompt Flight To Safety

By Carla Mozee and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

One bright spot: Shares in gold producers as the metal shines

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U.K. stocks closed in the red Wednesday, as assets viewed as risky were swept aside amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

The FTSE 100 index was pulled down 0.6% to end at 7,498.06, putting an end to a four-session winning streak.

Stocks across Europe , Asia and the Americas fell Wednesday after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an explicit threat to strike U.S. territory 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.

"The reaction in financial markets has been for safe haven plays to increase, with Treasury yields lower, whilst gold and the yen have strengthened," said Richard Perry, market analyst at Hantec Markets, in a note.

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Read more:How Trump's threat of 'fire and fury' is rattling stock-market calm (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-trumps-threat-of-fire-and-fury-is-rattling-stock-market-calm-2017-08-09)

And see:Guam's governor says 'there is no threat' but U.S. island 'will be defended' (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/guams-governor-there-is-no-threat-but-american-island-will-be-defended-2017-08-09)

Korea's Kospi stock benchmark lost 1.1% as geopolitical concerns grew, while U.S. stocks traded modestly lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-pull-back-on-rising-north-korea-tensions-2017-08-09). That is after the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a 10-session streak of wins on Tuesday following Trump's comments.

"Equity markets have also come under pressure, with the geopolitics bringing the run into record highs on Wall Street to an end," Perry said. "However, geopolitically-driven moves tend not to be long lasting in markets and moves are often quickly retraced."

In London trade, gold producers were a bright spot as prices for the metal leapt more than 1% to around $1,279 an ounce. Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS.LN) and Fresnillo PLC (FRES.LN) gained 2.8% and 4.9%, respectively,

On Tuesday, the London benchmark rose 0.1% and marked its highest close since June 2 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-pulls-back-from-2-month-high-as-miners-lose-ground-2017-08-08).

Stock movers: In other moves, Worldpay Group PLC shares (WPG.LN) picked up 1.3% after Vantiv Inc. (VNTV) said it would pay about GBP8 billion ($10.4 billion) in cash and stock to buy the U.K. payments processor (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/vantiv-seals-10-billion-worldpay-acquisition-2017-08-09), completing one of the biggest deals in the quickly consolidating sector.

Shares of G4S PLC (GFS.LN) fell 7.5% even as the security-services company posted a rise in first-half earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/g4s-earnings-up-revenue-growth-seen-in-line-2017-08-09)and projected revenue growth will be in line with its medium-term target.

The pound bought $1.2999, up slightly from $1.2993 late Tuesday in New York.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 09, 2017 12:22 ET (16:22 GMT)