Stocks Edge Lower as US-North Korea Tensions Emerge

12:44 PM, Sep 22, 2017 — Stocks in the US made marginal moves further into the red on Friday as geopolitical tensions between the US and North Korea heightened a risk-off tone among investors.

A day after announcing additional sanctions on the reclusive Asian nation, President Donald Trump called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a “madman” on Twitter. Kim offered his own insult of Trump, calling him “mentally deranged” and said the country might test a hydrogen bomb.

Markets that pushed lower a day earlier on the prospects of a third US interest-rate hike of 2017 were continuing to decline, with losses seen in seven of the 11 sectors on the Standard & Poor’s 500. Real estate fell the most, falling 0.6%, while energy rose 0.6%.

The move into havens sent gold higher, and miners benefitted, with Newmont (NEM) up 1% and Iamgold (IAG) rising 2%.

Telecommunications shares were up 0.7% as Reuters said Sprint (S) and T-Mobile US (TMUS) are close to a deal. Sprint jumped 4.6% while T-Mobile added 0.5%.

Also in company news, CarMax (KMX) jumped 7.7% after the company reported fiscal second quarter earnings and revenue that beat analysts’ expectations. Secoo (SECO) tumbled 20% in the first day of trading on the Nasdaq.

Ascendis Pharma (ASND) jumped 30% after Versartis (VSAR), which is developing a pediatric growth hormone similar to Ascendis’ TransCon, reported that its somavaratan missed its primary endpoint, removing itself as a threat to Ascendis’ candidate. Versartis plunged 86%.

In early afternoon trading, the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 were all down about 0.1%.

Globally, the Hang Seng fell 0.8%, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.3%, the Shanghai Composite lost 0.2% and the FTSE 100 rose 0.6%.