U.S. stocks veer higher in morning trading; oil heads lower

U.S. stocks veer higher in morning trading; oil heads lower

U.S. stocks veer higher in morning trading; oil heads lower

North Korea said it was considering plans to fire missiles at Guam, a USA -held Pacific island, after President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned the nuclear-armed nation that it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States.

"For all these variables to move significantly further would require an actual act of hostility - signs that the U.S.is preparing an attack on North Korea and / or actual launching of missiles by North Korea, for example".

In the United Kingdom, the stock of TV giant ITV was down 1.9 percent in early trading, and Sky shares were down 0.5 percent, while Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 fell 1.2 percent.

The Nasdaq composite also slipped 0.21%. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.2 percent, to 2,474.92.

Oil managed to end higher today, after the Energy Information Administration reported a bigger-than-expected decrease in domestic crude inventories last week.

Officials in North Korea said they were "carefully examining" a strike on Guam, which is home to around 163,000 people and two US military installations and threatened a further "all-out war wiping out all the strongholds of enemies, including the USA mainland" in a government statement.

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European equity markets also opened sharply lower and measures of volatility spiked. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman were all up, with the Dow Jones U.S. defense index up 1.48 percent at 409.58.

Chinese stocks seemed little affected though, and Australian stocks rose Wednesday after a weaker Tuesday amid strong earnings reports from big banks.

First, a wave of selling doused Asia's markets - sending Tokyo's Nikkei 225 down 1.3% and pressuring South Korea's Kospi Index to a 1.1% decline.

Gold miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo were among the only gainers on the FTSE, up 1.9 to 2.3 percent as investors rushed to the safety of gold.

Priceline sank 7.8 percent as it projected third-quarter earnings below Wall Street analyst expectations. The Nasdaq closed down 18.13 at 6,352.33, while the S&P 500 dropped 0.91, ending the session at 2,474.01. The Nasdaq composite fell 35 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,336.

In Europe, France's CAC 40 fell 1.6 percent to 5,135 while Germany's DAX was down 1.3 percent at 12,133. Net income fell to US$3 million from US$36 million in the year-ago quarter.

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