Markets Right Now: US stocks trade lower at midday

Markets Right Now: US stocks trade lower at midday”

Wall Street saw a stock sell-off on Thursday as rising tensions between the USA and North Korea filled investors with worry. Indexes were up for their first day in four.

Six of the S&P 500 sectors ended higher.

Markets had taken heart earlier in the day after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought to play down the escalating war of words between Washington and Pyongyang.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 36.64 points, or 0.17 percent, to end at 22,048.7, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 0.9 point, or 0.04 percent, to 2,474.02 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 18.13 points, or 0.28 percent, to 6,352.33.

Wall Street's widely followed measure of market anxiety, the CBOE Volatility index, was up 0.79 points at 16.77 on Friday, its highest since November.

The recovery fit a recent pattern of investors using dips to put more money in stocks.

Late in the session, U.S. President Donald Trump said perhaps his threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea "maybe wasn't tough enough".

North Korea have since threatened to launch missiles at the US territory of Guam.

Markets recovered slightly Friday. It's still the highest it's been since May.

Drugmaker Galapagos NV was the sole bright spot, up 4.8 percent as brokers upgraded their view on the stock which also outperformed on Thursday after a successful drug trial.

Investors will get an update on consumer price inflation, watched for its influence on the Federal Reserve's interest-rate thinking, while shares of Snap Inc. and Nvidia Corp. may draw attention after their earnings releases late Thursday. They suggest the USA and China, a North Korean ally, could work together to de-escalate the situation. Regions Financial shed 23 cents, or 1.6 per cent, to $14.07.

A fresh batch of retail earnings is in focus, too, with Dillard's among several stocks within the sector set to plunge after reporting. The company also said sales at its established stores declined for the fourth straight quarter. For the week, the benchmark slipped 2.6%.

Amid the hot rhetoric, US stocks sold off sharply on Thursday, with the S&P 500 falling more than 1 percent.

Oil prices were lifted by a sustained decline in inventories and as Saudi Arabia prepared to cut crude supplies to its prized Asian customers. Silver gained 1 cent to $17.07 an ounce. The euro rose to $1.1824 from $1.1774.

Global markets have been on edge since Tuesday when Trump warned North Korea of severe retribution should the authoritarian state proceed with any more missile tests or threats. Germany's DAX was flat, while France's CAC 40 fell 1.1 per cent. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 1.1 per cent. The index is bouncing off its lowest closing level in six months. South Korea's Kospi lost 1.7 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 2 per cent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.2 per cent. Japan was closed on a public holiday.

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