Trump Rhetoric Sinks Global Stocks

By Kenan Machado Features Dow Jones Newswires

Global stocks extended their selloff as investors continued to pare their riskier positions following strong year-to-date gains and the rise in geopolitical tensions this week.

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European stocks fell Thursday, and U.S. stocks accelerated their fall with the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffering its biggest one-day decline since May 17 after U.S. President Donald Trump's comment that his threat on Tuesday to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea " maybe wasn't tough enough."

"This situation is beginning to develop into this generation's Cuban missile crisis," wrote ING's Robert Carnell in a morning note to clients.

Korea's Kospi fell another 2.1% after Thursday's session saw it log its first three-session losing streak since April. Samsung Electronics slid 3.4%, putting the week's drop at 7%. The tech giant hasn't had that bad a week since October.

Still, the Kospi entered Friday's trading up 16% for this year even after the 1.6% drop over the prior three days. That speaks to how strong Korean stocks, and many Asian markets, have been this year.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.2%, pressured by regional weakness as well as the near-2% drop in oil prices overnight. Global and U.S. crude benchmarks were down slightly Friday morning in Asia.

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Japan's markets were shut for a public holiday. Come Monday, traders in Tokyo will have to deal with Friday's regional stock weakness as well as fresh yen gains. It strengthened steadily during Thursday's European trading and gained a bit further in Asia, and the dollar is at risk of falling below Yen109.

"Market conditions were right for profit-taking" in stocks this week, said Alexander Ho Wan Lee, chief investment officer at Nimbus Capital Group. He added the selling has prompted folks from staying out of Asian equities despite a desire to benefit from robust earnings being reported.

"Some investors want to enter the market, but they believe that the market run-up has been too strong," said Mr. Lee.

This week's pullback could provide that opportunity to buy stocks relatively cheaply and lift markets again. That would be welcome for bulls, who may have some concern that this week's streak of declines could be the start of a major downward correction for markets, said analysts.

Hong Kong' Hang Seng Index, which on Thursday saw its first two-session decline in a month, fell another 1.4% just after the open with messaging giant Tencent sliding 4.3%.

Write to Kenan Machado at kenan.machado@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 10, 2017 22:50 ET (02:50 GMT)