Gold climbs amid US-North Korean 'sabre-rattling'

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Simmering tensions between the US and North Korea were also weighing on the market. When the rhetoric between the two leaders heated up, investors were scurrying for safe haven currencies, including the Yen and the Swiss Franc, which surged about 1.1% on Wednesday.

Besides, persistent buying by local jewellers at domestic spot market stoked the uptrend.

In the United Kingdom, gold mining stocks Randgold Resource and Fresnillo were among the few to gain - up 2.8% and 4.9%. The precious metal had gained Rs 670 in last three days. The Nasdaq index declined over 2% on the day with the S&P 500 index retreating around 1.5%. The fact that ended with a 1%-plus drop, however, might be good news.

The CBOE Volatility Index, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term USA stock market volatility, hit its highest mark since November 8, when Mr Trump was elected President of the US.

The market was waiting f or US consumer inflation data on Friday that would offer more clues about future Fed decisions.

Disappointing earnings also helped pull the market lower Wednesday. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 1.47 percent lower.

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Excluding energy and food prices, core PPI fell by 0.1% month-on-month, while analysts anticipated the index to rise by 0.1 percentage points to 0.2%.

On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 3.11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,441.32. Gold prices touched their highest level in more than two months at US$1,285.76 an ounce. The stock lost $142.20, to $1,906.80.

European equities indexes were a sea of red at the close, while Wall Street indices suffered their biggest losses in near three months, deepening their fall after Trump's mid-afternoon remarks further stoked fears of a miscalculation that could lead to catastrophic consequences on the Korean peninsula and beyond. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 1.69 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,374.23.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 23 cents to settle at $48.82 a barrel on the on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Humana Inc. rose $4.74, or 1.9 percent, to $254.96.

Jitti Tangsithpakdi, chairman of the Gold Traders Association, said soaring gold prices are expected to continue and will reach $1,300 an ounce if geopolitical tensions escalate. U.S. PPI came in at -0.1%, below the 0.1% forecast and previous read. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.2 percent.

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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