The JSE extended losses at lunchtime on Friday, joining world markets anxious about the brewing conflict between North Korea and the US.

The all-share index was off 1.07% to 55,107.30 points, as industrial 25 and resource 10 indices shed 1.2% and 1.55%, respectively.

Rabobank International head of forex strategy Jane Foley said that while investors were not battening down the hatches yet, the reaction across asset classes has been fairly noticeable this week.

"If [the US-North Korea conflict] continues it could have a significant impact on redirecting investments flows and therefore on the global economy," she said. "That said, there has been a tendency for global markets to look through or even shrug off geopolitical news in recent years."

US President Donald Trump has threatened to retaliate if North Korea follows through on its promise to attack Guam‚ a Pacific territory where the US has a naval base.

Gold stocks rose on the local share market, benefiting from a relatively higher gold price and as the rand weakened through R13.50 against the dollar, which was in the upper end of its recent trading range.

In Europe, benchmark indices were weaker by about 1% at midday, following a negative lead from Asia, where Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 2.04%.

Among stocks on the JSE, Naspers was off 3.63% to R2,741.71 and Imperial Holdings 1.84% to R182.72.

BHP was off 2.98% to R231.79, Anglo American 3.33% to R214.16 and Glencore 3.01% to R55.48.

Kumba shed 3.93% to R196.01, Exxaro Resources 3.27% to R110.30 and Lonmin 3.09% to R14.74. But AngloGold Ashanti rose 2.89% to R134.54, and Harmony Gold 3.58% to R24.58.

Construction stocks were under the whip, with PPC down 2.74% to R3.91 and Aveng 2.25% to R3.91.

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