Money

Safe-Haven Investing is Back in Fashion

The winds of change affect investors at various times of the year and late summer historically is one of those times.

Not only is the August-September time frame a period of reduced volume trading that coincides with the end of the second-quarter reporting season, it also tends to be more volatile if negative news crosses the tape. As recent events have shown, geopolitical tension stemming from the North Korean conflict is driving volatility higher and calling into question the market’s bullish uptrend.

While the hottest names in the tech sector have led the major averages for most of the year, financials caught a strong bid following strong employment data that prompted bond yields to tick higher. Just when it seemed the bulls were about to take out the 2,500 level for the S&P 500 and force more cash off the sideline, a war of words erupted between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Market participants had been taking the heated rhetoric in stride and were especially relieved when the United Nations Security Council voted 9-0 to impose fresh sanctions on North Korea following the latest unlawful missile tests.

The new sanctions are aimed at countering the threat posed by Pyongyang’s nuclear program following two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests in July. The United States-drafted resolution comes after weeks of tough rhetoric from the administration of President Donald Trump, with the President himself having recently taken aim at China for not doing enough, in his view, to counter the regime of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un.

The United States “is taking and will continue to take prudent defensive measures to protect ourselves and our allies” from the threat posed by North Korea, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said after the vote. She described the new resolution as “the single-largest economic package ever levelled against the North Korean regime.” The new resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. It also prohibits countries from increasing the current number of North Korean laborers who are working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.

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