Asian stocks slip, yen and gold rise as global risks weigh

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 219.03 points or 1.17 percent to 18,528.84, off a low of 18,460.59 earlier.

Instead investors flocked to gold, a traditional safe haven amid global uncertainty, causing spot gold prices to reach their highest level since November.

In Europe, France's CAC 40 gained 0.2 percent to 5,113 and Germany's DAX added 0.1 percent to 12,150.

Bond prices rose. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.36 percent from 2.38 percent late Friday.

Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean peninsula amid concerns that reclusive North Korea may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test and after Washington said at the weekend it was diverting U.S. Navy strike group Carl Vinson from port calls to Australia toward the Korean peninsula as a show of force.

GLOBAL GLOOM: Investors are cautious as world events this week complicate the investment outlook.

Trading Wednesday was also heavily influenced by rising USA tensions with Russia, North Korea and Syria after US missile strikes in Syria last week and the moving of US warships toward the Korean Peninsula.

Meanwhile, the USA has said Russian Federation is complicit in Syria's chemical weapon attack on rebels in its bloody civil war, and ahead of his arrival in Moscow, Tillerson said the reign of Syria's Bashar al-Assad is coming to an end and that he hopes Russian Federation will conclude "that they have aligned themselves with an unreliable partner".

QUOTEWORTHY: "Global tensions and a rush to safety ruled the NY session, and this has followed through to Asia", said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA. Dealers warned there was little in the way of chart support until the 200-day moving average at 108.72.The euro sank to its lowest in five months at 116.16 yen EURJPY=R having fallen 11 sessions in a row, a record for the single currency.

Futures on Hong Kong's Hang Seng and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index were each down 0.3 percent in most recent trading.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was near flat and futures pointed to a slightly firmer opening for the main European bourses.

TROUBLED TOSHIBA: Shares of the Japanese electronics maker extended losses, falling more than 2 percent after it raised doubts about its ability to survive as a company.

A strong yen is negative for Japanese exporters as it erodes their profitability and often drags the stock market lower.

The yen, a favored haven in times of stress, was holding its own against the dollar in early trades at 111.27 yen JPY= , after touching 110.14 on Friday, its lowest since March 28. The euro was steady at $1.0588.

PRECIOUS METAL: Gold, another asset sought by nervous investors, continued to gain, rising $4.80, or 0.4 percent, to $1,274.20 an ounce, its highest in more than five months.

Yields on the benchmark USA 10-year note have dipped to near three-month lows this week as safe-haven demand tied to geopolitical worries has boosted buying.

Benchmark crude oil closed higher for the fifth day in a row, adding 84 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $53.08 a barrel in NY.