Japanese Yen Benefits as Geopolitical Tensions Rise

People walk past an electronic board showing Japan's Nikkei average outside a brokerage at a business district in Tokyo Japan

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Wednesday.

The big four banks were all lower led by ANZ which was down 1.91 per cent at $29.26. Crude oil prices extended their slide as exports from key OPEC producers rose, despite news of lower crude shipments from Saudi Arabia. The Russell 2000 index gave up 24.40 points, or 1.7 percent, to 1,372.54.

SIMMERING TENSIONS: North Korea revealed on Thursday a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers.

Below that level lies another key technical chart support level for the dollar at 108.13 yen, a trough the USA currency k plumbed in mid-April. Alliance Data Systems fell $6.28, or 2.7 percent, to $225.64.

The Labor Department also said unit labor costs rose by 0.6 percent in the second quarter following an upwardly revised 5.4 percent spike in the first quarter. Its shares slid $11.64 to $61.70.

In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 1.1 percent, while the CAC 40 in France lost 0.6 percent. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.26 percent.

In a note sent to clients late on Thursday, the USA bank predicted the single currency would rise to $1.25 in the first quarter of next year and reach parity with sterling for the first time.

Nvidia fell $7.37, or 4.3 percent, to $164.74, while Advanced Micro Devices gave up 71 cents, or 5.5 percent, to $12.12.

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ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 28 cents to $49.45 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Manuel Oliveri of Credit Agricole said about the single currency,"The euro has become more correlated to risk in recent weeks and sentiment is still a bit cautious", adding "though the euro upside trend is likely to remain intact over the longer term". Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, added 21 cents to $52.91.

Earlier, the dollar slipped as low as 108.91 yen, its weakest level since June 14, when the greenback fell as low as 108.81 yen.

Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, attributed this week's downturn in the major indices mainly to economic indicators rather than geopolitical brinkmanship.

The Korean won also continued to skid, down 0.45 percent to 1,147.2, falling below its 200-day moving average for the first time in a month.

But the S&P Bank sub-sector.SPXBK fell 0.7 percent on dimming prospects of another rate hike this year since higher rates tend to boost bank profits.

"A combination of softer euro zone economic data, solid USA reports and market positioning all resulted in a markedly heavier tone for the single currency", Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington, said in a note. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down almost 0.1 percent to 5,760.90, while South Korea's Kospi fell 0.5 percent to 2,357.84.

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