Wall Street lower on US-North Korea tensions

Corporate Earnings Chart August 11

His comments came in response to North Korea's threat to fire ballistic missiles toward the USA territory of Guam, which is home to US bombers and other strategic assets. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 6 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,390. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 159 points, or 0.7 percent, to 21,889.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite bore the brunt of the sell-off, losing 135.46 points, or 2.1 percent, to 6,216.87.

SIMMERING TENSIONS: On Thursday, the US and North Korea continued to exchange threats.

"If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so", the editorial's authors said. The back and forth put investors in a selling mood for the third day in a row.

Unease over the situation pushed the VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, up 44.4 percent.

"As a portfolio manager, you say, 'Do I think we'll get a war out of this?'" said Torsten Slok, chief worldwide economist at Deutsche Bank, referring to the back and forth between North Korea and President Donald Trump. "As long as it doesn't go beyond just a war of words, this is going to be short-lived". The stock fell $1.01 to $22.02.

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KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,466 as of 11:20 a.m. Bank of New York Mellon fell $1.56, or 2.9 percent, to $52.48, while Citizens Financial Group slid 86 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $34.17.

Disappointing quarterly results from big department store chains also weighed down the market. Broadcom gave up $5.72, or 2.3 percent, to $243.45. The stock fell $3.30 to $30.09. Dillard's slumped 15.3 percent after the chain booked a loss for the second quarter as increased inventory led to big discounts. Its shares slid $11.64, to $61.70. Kohl's also declined, sliding $3.62, or 8.6 percent, to $38.31.

Beyond geopolitical concerns, investors continued to size up company earnings reports. The trend appeared to overshadow strong quarterly revenue growth in the quarter. South Korea's KOSPI fell 1.8 percent to almost a three-month low. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.22 percent from 2.26 percent late Tuesday.

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. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, slid 52 cents, or 1 percent, to $52.18. Meanwhile, after jumping $10.80 to $1,290.10 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are climbing $6.50 to $1,296.60 an ounce. Copper rose 4 cents to $2.94 a pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 109.31 yen from 109.85 late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1774 from $1.1752. The major index futures are now pointing to a modestly higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 21 points. While the German DAX Index has edged down by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index are both down by 1 percent. Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped less than 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 1.1 percent.

For the week, the Dow is on track to fall 0.9%, its biggest one-week drop since April. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was down 1.13%.

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