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US: Stocks fall on North Korea worries

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks fell on Monday, pressured by the latest flare-up between Washington and North Korea, while petroleum-linked shares rose with spiking oil prices following Turkish threats to block Kurdish oil exports.

North Korea's foreign minister accused US President Donald Trump of declaring war against his country and said Pyongyang was ready to defend itself by shooting down US bombers. The White House dismissed the claim as "absurd." With those tensions increasing daily, technology shares, which have had a good run for most of 2017, pulled back. Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google-parent Alphabet each lost one percent or more.

But petroleum-linked companies such as ExxonMobil, Halliburton and Schlumberger advanced one per cent or more after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to block the key oil exports from Iraq's Kurdish region which is holding an independence referendum.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.2 per cent at 22,206.09.

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The broad-based S&P 500 also shed 0.2 per cent to close at 2,496.66, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 0.9 per cent to 6,370.59.

Facebook fell 4.5 per cent after disclosing late Friday that chief executive Mark Zuckerberg planned to sell up to 75 million shares to fund his philanthropic work. The social media giant also announced it was scuttling a plan to issue a new non-voting class of shares.

Big-box retailer Target lost 0.8 per cent after announcing it planned to raise its minimum hourly wage to US$15 by the end of 2020.

General Electric gained 1.0 per cent following news it sold its industrial solutions business to Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB for US$2.6 billion.

General Motors jumped 2.2 per cent following an upgrade from Deutsche Bank.

AFP

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