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European markets closed lower on Wednesday amid escalating geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended down 0.73 percent with almost all sectors and major bourses in negative territory.
Europe's banking index slipped around 1.4 percent on Wednesday as Germany's two biggest lenders, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, led the losses. Both lenders were off by more than 3.5 percent.
Chemicals also closed over 1 percent lower on Wednesday after weaker-than-expected earnings. Germany's Brenntag, the world's largest chemical distributor, slumped towards the bottom of the benchmark after reporting slower performances across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Its shares dipped over 6.5 percent.
Elsewhere, Scout 24 soared towards the top of the index, up by more than 4.5 percent, after reporting an operating earnings increase at a "disproportionate rate" for the first half of the year, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., indexes continued lower as investors reacted to increasingly aggressive rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington.
Tensions between North Korea and the United States escalated to unprecedented levels after President Donald Trump warned the former would be "met with fire and fury" if it continued its threats. Pyongyang replied it was "carefully examining" a plan to strike Guam, where a U.S. military base is located.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday he doesn't believe there is "any imminent threat" from North Korea, including to the U.S. territory of Guam.
However, investors were shifting from stocks to safe-haven options such as the yen, gold and U.S. Treasurys. The Swiss franc rose almost 1 percent against the U.S. dollar. European bonds were also among the top choices this Wednesday. The yield on the German government bond dropped to a six-week low. Yields moved inversely to the price.
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