U.S. stocks fall again on North Korea tensions

U.S. stocks fall again on North Korea tensions

Stocks are lower at midday as investors weighed the growing tensions between the US and North Korea. "If the answer is 'yes, ' then you better get defensive".

Nevertheless, the geopolitical uncertainty looks set to continue, dealers said, following Trump's fresh warning Thursday that his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on the reclusive nuclear-armed state may not have been "tough enough".

The Nasdaq Composite Index plunged 2.1% to 6216.87 and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 1.45% to 2438.21.

Major stock indexes across Europe and Asia also posted weekly declines.

Wall Street closed sharply lower, with Dow Jones down over 200 points on Thursday.

The escalation provided an excuse for a selloff many investors consider overdue, some investors and analysts said. With the sell-off on the day, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 fell to their lowest closing levels in a month. The stock has more than doubled over the past 12 months, gaining more than 160%. "This is a normal fluctuation, it just seems so odd because we have hardly had any volatility", said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group in Minneapolis.

Wall Street's so-called "fear gauge", the CBOE Volatility Index, eased after hitting its highest levels since Election Day on Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-streets-fear-gauge-on-course-for-biggest-weekly-surge-in-2-years-2017-08-11). It slipped Friday but was up more than 50% for the week.

Geopolitics aside, investors were also focused on USA economic data and monetary policy, following the release of inflation data, Erlam said.

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The price of crude oil dropped more than two percent Thursday, the cost of a barrel falling to $48.49.

Shares Snap fell 1.94, or 14%, to 11.83 after the Snapchat parent reported earnings late Thursday that missed analyst forecasts. And Blue Apron shares dipped after its first earnings report as a public company.

Overall it has been a strong stretch for corporate profits.

In other news, USA wholesale inflation dropped in July, the first contraction in almost a year and another data point that could weaken the case for the Federal Reserve to raise the benchmark interest rate again later this year.

10-Year Treasury Yield 2.20% -0.03%.

Investors bought bonds after the Labor Department said the consumer-price index increased 0.1% in July from the previous month. That put it at its highest level since the USA election in November, as investors piled into safe haven assets such as gold and bonds.

Friday's report was the latest in a string of lackluster inflation readings, which have surprised many investors who had entered the year betting on an upsurge in economic growth and inflation.

Federal funds futures suggested the chance of rate hike in December fell to 40 percent from 42 percent shortly before the release of the data.

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