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North Korea: How should advisors react?

If the events in North Korea go terribly wrong, it won’t matter whether your clients buy or sell stocks. Should the world avoid global thermonuclear war, however, Korea could have big, short-term effects on your clients’ portfolio — and you should consider what they will be, and how to manage them.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 204.69 points, or 0.93%, on Thursday, thanks to increasingly bellicose talk by President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The stock market rebounded modestly Friday, but Wall Street continues to watch the situation warily.

At the very least, the Korean flare-up has encouraged investors to lighten up on their riskier assets and seek safety in Treasury securities.

 “Among hard-hit industry-specific stock price indices were the 3.1% dive by the PHLX index of semiconductor shares, the 2.8% plummet by the KBW index of bank stock prices, and the 2.3% slump by the PHLX index of housing-sector share prices,” writes Moody’s chief economist John Lonski.