The Australian market was lower this week with the ASX 200 index falling below the 5,700 level on Friday as markets reacted to tensions between the United States and North Korea with the Asian country threatening a missile strike on U.S. territory Guam. On a sector level, the best performer was telecommunications even though Vocus Group was one of the worst performing companies in the ASX 200 index despite no recent news or company announcements. Information technology and materials also performed comparatively well with materials reacting positively to the continued recovery of the price of iron ore which is back above US70. The worst performing sectors were consumer discretionary, utilities and energy with the latter driven by a fall in crude oil prices on oversupply concerns despite a larger than expected drawdown in U.S. inventories.
In global markets, Wall Street was lower by the end of the week despite the likes of the Dow posting its ninth consecutive record close on Monday and a stronger than expected earnings season drawing to a close. Markets fell following reports that North Korea had successfully miniaturised a nuclear warhead and Donald Trump in response saying that North Korea would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen” should it continue to threaten the United States. All three major U.S. equity market benchmarks recorded their worst session on Thursday since mid-May as the war of words between the U.S. and North Korea continued. European and Asian markets were also lower as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea added geopolitical uncertainty to markets. Unexpectedly weak German industrial data for June also pushed European equities lower.
The Australian dollar was lower against major currencies this week as investors moved away from the risk correlated currency to safe havens such as the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc on North Korea concerns.