USA tensions with North Korea rattle markets

News late Tuesday that North Korea was reviewing plans for an attack on US military assets on the island of Guam came just hours after President Trump had warned that continued threats would be met "with fire and fury like the world has never seen". Meanwhile, markets in Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries were also lower, and so-called futures signaled that USA markets would also open down.

In an apparent response to Trump's tweet, a statement issued by North Korea's official KCNA news agency claimed the president is "driving the situation on the Korean peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war". Only utilities sector stocks eked out a gain on a day of mostly listless trading as investors kept an eye on the latest company earnings and geopolitical news. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.2 percent.

The Nasdaq gave up 13.31 (-0.21 percent) to close at 6,370.46, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,474.92, down 5.99 (-0.24 percent) from its open.

Supply chain software company Kinaxis Inc fell 12.9 percent to C$69.43 as several analysts cut their target prices and recommendations on the stock.

The weakness among oil service stocks comes even though the price of crude oil for September delivery is inching up USD0.01 to USD49.18 a barrel.

Nordstrom shares were up 1.63 percent at $45.60 following the apparel retailer's better-than-expected quarterly same-store sales.

If the North Korean regime "does anything" to the U.S. or a United States ally "things will happen to them like they never thought possible", Trump told reporters on Thursday, according to Bloomberg.

Trucking and software stocks are also seeing notable strength in mid-day trading, while steel stocks have moved sharply lower on the day.

North Korea's threat to carry out a missile strike on Guam continued to worry investors.

On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 3.11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,441.32.

Elsewhere, French conglomerate Vivendi saw its stock fall 2.1 percent in the morning hours, while Italy's Mediaset dropped only 0.3 percent.

The Vix, also known as the "fear index", closed at 10.96, its highest level in a month.

The Dow slid as declines in shares of Apple and those of Goldman Sachs, recently down 2.3 percent and 1.7 percent respectively, outweighed gains in shares of McDonald's and those of Coca-Cola, recently up 1.4 percent and 0.5 percent respectively.

The benchmark USA yield on Thursday was just above 2.2 percent, at its lowest level since late June, as investors bought up Treasuries, a classic safe harbor.

Avis Budget Group slumped 9.9% after the auto rental company cut its guidance following a weak second quarter. The euro slid to 1.1752 dollars from 1.1793. It declined 23 cents on Tuesday to $52.14.

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