* Wall Street stocks fall, defensive sectors popular
* Gold holds gains, U.S. Treasury yields unchanged
* Oil reverses gains after U.S. inventory data
(Updates with U.S. markets, adds commentary, changes byline,
dateline, previous LONDON)
By Sinead Carew
NEW YORK, April 12 Safe-haven gold and U.S.
Treasuries prices held steady on Wednesday while U.S stocks
edged lower as investors fretted about global geopolitical risk
and the upcoming U.S. corporate earnings season.
U.S. Treasury yields were little changed as demand tied to
worries about Syria and North Korea offset investor selling
ahead of a 30-year bond auction.
Oil prices reversed earlier gains after a report on U.S.
crude stockpiles suggested the market was still heavily
supplied. On Wall Street, defensive sectors were among the
brightest spots in keeping with preferences for safety.
"The geopolitical tension has not escalated but it's not
going away either," said Mary Anne Hurley, vice president of
fixed income at D.A. Davidson in Seattle.
U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday North
Korea was "looking for trouble" and the United States would
"solve the problem" with or without China's help the day after
Pyongyang warned of a nuclear attack on the United States at any
sign of American aggression.
However Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday stressed
the need for a peaceful solution for the Korean peninsula on a
call with Trump.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said trust had
eroded between the United States and Russia under Trump as
Moscow delivered an unusually hostile reception to U.S.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 55.23 points,
or 0.27 percent, to 20,596.07, the S&P 500 lost 8.13
points, or 0.35 percent, to 2,345.65 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 24.92 points, or 0.42 percent, to 5,841.85.
Aside from politics investors were hoping quarterly earnings
would support lofty valuations on Wall Street ahead of big bank
earnings which unofficially kick off the season on Thursday.
"It would be very important what they (banks) offer as
forecast because stock prices imply better times ahead and
investors are looking for assurances and positive forecasts to
be issued," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital
Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Europe's STOXX 600 was up 0.2 percent but was well
below its high of the day.
Gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,276 an ounce, its
highest since Nov. 10, after jumping 1.6 percent on Tuesday.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.17
percent after hitting its lowest since April 7.
The dollar was still down slightly against the yen,
after falling to its lowest in nearly five months earlier in the
day against the Japanese currency, a favorite in times of stress
due to Japan's position as the world's largest creditor nation.
The dollar fell 1.2 percent against the yen on Tuesday.
U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields were
little changed at 2.300 percent, seen as a key resistance level.
The 30-year bond yield was flat at 2.933 percent
after falling to the lowest since Jan. 17 earlier in the day.
Oil futures turned negative after eight straight sessions of
gains on the U.S. inventory data suggesting persistent
Global benchmark Brent crude fell 0.3 percent to
$56.08 a barrel, while U.S. crude shed 0.02 percent to
(Additional reporting by Richard Leong and Dion Rabouin in New
York, Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru and Wayne Cole in
Sydney; Editing by Alison Williams and James Dalgleish)