Gold hovers near two-month highs on N.Korea tensions

The CBOE Volatility Index, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, rose to a near three-month high of 15.36. The September copper contract was down two cents to $2.91 a pound.

A rise in the yen, which often draws safe-haven buying in times of uncertainty, is bad for Japanese exporters because it shrinks the value of their repatriated profits.

The euro slid 0.3 percent to 129.34 yen, and fell 0.1 percent against the dollar to $1.1743.

Stocks took a hit for a third straight day Thursday as North Korea's nuclear threats seemed again to roil the markets.

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Beijing's appeal came as North Korea said it could reduce the US mainland to ashes "at any moment". "That was one of those I wish I'd not said ", Ellison said.

Palladium climbed 0.2 percent to $898.30 per ounce and was on track to end the week 2.4-percent higher. Gold miners bucked the 1.3 per cent fall for Australia's benchmark index.

On Friday, an MSCI index of stocks across the globe posted its largest weekly drop since the week before Trump won the USA presidential election in November. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 share index closed down 1.3% at its lowest since June 1 as the strong yen hit exporters, while South Korea's KOSPI index fell 1.1% to seven-week lows.

Markets are now awaiting United States consumer price data for July, due later today.

Markets had seen a tentative recovery in risk appetite in USA and early Asian trading, but as the war of words resumed Asian stocks dropped back and London, Frankfurt and Paris all lost 0.5 to 1.2 per cent. The franc was up 1.1% against the dollar at SF0.9639 and was 1.2% higher vs the euro at SF1.1311.

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Concerns over geopolitical risks probably led investors to pare back bearish bets against the yen and the Swiss franc, said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore, referring to the gains in those currencies on Wednesday.

The latest USA economic data cemented expectations that inflation will remain subdued amid a robust labour market. The Treasury yield us 10-year fell to 2,201 % vs. 2,248 % Wednesday night and one of the warrants to 30 years 2,778 %, compared with 2,824 %.

The Japanese yen strengthened by 0.5% to about 109.70 per dollar.

Data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission released last week showed that currency speculators still held a large net short position in the yen during the week ended August 1, although somewhat smaller than the levels seen a couple of weeks earlier, when their bearish bets against the yen grew to the largest since January 2014. Northern Star Resources was up 3 per cent, while Evolution Mining rose 2 per cent, Newcrest Mining gained 2.3 per cent and Resolute Mining rose 2.1 per cent. Westgold Resources was the biggest gainer, rising 6.6 per cent. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, added 26 cents to $52.96.

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The U.S., China and Russian Federation need to come together to force the North to de-escalate, he said. President Donald Trump has issued tough warnings to North Korea in response.

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