Dollar hits 8-week low vs yen, N.Korea tensions spook investors

The dollar index fell 0.32 per cent, with the euro up 0.42 per cent to US$1.1819.

The European Union says it has slapped sanctions on nine North Koreans and four entities including the state-owned Foreign Trade Bank, in addition to those already on its sanctions list.

Late in the afternoon, Trump told reporters that his "fire and fury" warning to North Korea may not have been tough enough.

"The people of our country are safe".

His comments came in response to North Korea's threat to fire ballistic missiles toward the USA territory of Guam, which is home to US strategic bombers, a naval station and other strategic assets.

The US gains helped limit the losses in Europe.

"While it appears that Pyongyang's detailed strike plan against Guam has created a sour backdrop to trading, it's worth noting that US/North Korea tensions aren't having quite the same effect on the DAX and CAC", said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell. "The North Korea situation is still unstable and investors are controlling risk and taking profit after recent gains", said Sam Chi Yung, a Hong Kong-based strategist at South China Financial Holdings. Wall Street was poised for further losses at the opening bell, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.3 percent.

Gold continued to benefit from risk aversion, with the precious metal standing at USD1,286.67 an ounce at the London equities close compared to USD1,268.44 an ounce on Thursday.

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Positive sentiment was also generated by a report from the Labor Department showing a modest uptick in consumer prices in the month of July. Economists had expected prices to rise by 0.2 percent.

"It's unbelievable when you consider the headlines just how calm the equity markets are, how they've taken things in their stride", said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"The next Fed rate move is under question and the inflation equation is going to help the doves on the committee".

If the North Korean regime "does anything" to the United States or a USA ally "things will happen to them like they never thought possible", he told reporters on Thursday, according to Bloomberg. London's FTSE 100 shed 0.8 percent to 7,481.30.

Old Mutual fell 2.3%. The greatest contributors were investment return, which rose to GBP4.83 billion from GBP3.00 billion, and banking interest, which climbed to GBP2.36 billion from GBP1.61 billion. That lifted the year-on-year increase in the CPI to 1.7% from 1.6% in June.

Domino's Pizza ended down 3.4%. But Michael said the overall market was still expected to saw-tooth its way higher due in part to a batch of better-than-expected earnings and low interest rates, despite the shift toward raising rates.

There were falls of almost 2% on South Korea's Kospi and Hong Kong's Hang Seng, with markets in mainland China and Australia also down - taking their cues from sharp losses on Wall Street earlier.

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