Markets: US stocks decline amid geopolitical tensions

Wall Street finished lower on Tuesday but well off the day’s lows, as worries about geopolitical risks lured investors out of risky assets like stocks and into the perceived safety of Treasurys, gold and the Japanese yen.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell seven points, or 0.03%, to 20,651, the S&P 500 lost three points, or 0.14%, to 2,354 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 14 points, or 0.24%, to 5,867.

Investors remained cautious amid geopolitical tensions surrounding Syria, Russia and North Korea. They were also concerned about the first round of France’s presidential election later this month.

News that Trump is still considering a major rewrite or even complete elimination of the Dodd-Frank banking law helped stocks to trim losses during the session.

Meanwhile, assets perceived as safe, such as US Treasurys, rallied, sending their yields near their lowest levels in months. The 10-year Treasury note yield fell 6 basis points to 2.30%.

Among individual stocks, shares of United Continental Holdings Inc. was one of the biggest losers on the S&P 500 after the company was criticised for forcibly removing a passenger from a plane. Rival American Airlines Group Inc. was up 3.8% after releasing traffic results.

Apple Inc. shares fell after the company lost its top position in Laptop Magazine’s best brand ranking for this year.

Shares of RetailMeNot Inc. soared after the coupon website agreed to be acquired by Harland Clarke Holdings Corp.

Cytori Therapeutics Inc. plunged 35% after the developer of burn treatments priced a stock offering at a deep discount.

In Asia, share markets were mostly lower on Wednesday in morning session, as tensions continue to ratchet up on the Korean Peninsula following a warning from North Korea of a nuclear attack on the US.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.19%. Australia’s ASX 200 dipped 0.05% while South Korea’s Kospi was marginally higher and trading up 0.07%.

In mainland Chinese markets, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.38% and the Shenzhen Composite was lower by 0.325%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was in similar territory, declining by 0.31%.