Here's how nuclear tensions will actually impact the market – CNBC

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Volatility has crept back into the market amid tensions with North Korea, and some strategists are now advising investors to prepare for more turbulence ahead in the short term.

“We could expect heightened volatility in markets, to a level we have not seen since the crisis. The biggest impact will likely be to multiples as the real economic impact is fairly low,” Gina Sanchez, CEO of Chantico Global, wrote to CNBC on Friday.

The U.S. would be most exposed to a contraction in stocks’ multiples, Sanchez said, but the market impact will likely be “shorter-lived than the economic impact,” with much of the initial shock dissipating within six months.

Tensions with North Korea indeed appeared to dampen “an otherwise buoyant, albeit overvalued market,” she added.

Stock markets were rattled this week as President Donald Trump continued to make remarks regarding North Korea’s nuclear program and the isolated nation responded in part with a detailed plan to launch a missile strike near the U.S. territory of Guam.

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average both logged their second-worst weekly performances of the year; the Nasdaq composite posted its third-worst week of the year.

Furthermore, gold posted a weekly gain of more than 2 percent as the classically safe haven asset rose to two-month highs, and the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury fell to two-month lows.

The actual likelihood of conflict is quite low, Sanchez said, pointing to a report by consulting firm Control Risks. The report also showed that China will not directly intervene in the conflict, but this will also lead to a period of heightened tensions between the U.S. and China.

Investors are likely to remain anxious about this week’s developments at least in the near term, Brown Brothers Harriman currency strategists wrote in a note to clients on Friday entitled, “Tensions Remain High Going into the Weekend.”

“There has been no apparent attempt by either North Korea or the United States to ease the rhetorical flourishes that have made global investors nervous,” wrote currency strategists led by the firm’s global head of currency strategy, Marc Chandler.