United States stocks fall as North Korea worries rise

United States stocks fall as North Korea worries rise

USA stocks closed barely down on Wednesday as investors appeared to turn their focus away from North Korea-related geopolitical tension that weighed on equities for most of the session.

TOUGH TALK: Tensions between the United States and North Korea continued to simmer early Friday.

President Donald Trump told North Korea on Friday that the US military was "locked and loaded", while Pyongyang accused him of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war.

It is "a bullish sign that the equity markets are rebounding somewhat on a Friday, in spite of the fact that investors will need to wait for two days to react to any geopolitical news that comes out over the weekend", said Robert Phipps, a director at Per Stirling Capital Management in Austin, Texas.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 14 points, a gain of 0.07 percent, the Nasdaq composite rose almost 40 points or 0.64 percent and the S&P 500 gained 3 points or 0.13 percent.

The S&P 500 index had its biggest one-day drop in nearly three months on Thursday as investors fled riskier assets, with technology stocks leading the charge, in response to an increasingly aggressive exchange of threats between the United States and North Korea.

Reuters data show a 22 percent perceived chance for a rate hike after the Fed's December meeting.

Trump was responding to North Korea's claim it was completing plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near the US Pacific territory of Guam.

However, the S&P was still not far off record levels.

The last time the S&P closed down more than 1 percent was May 17.

The S&P had been down 0.52 percent at its session low. "I do think we could see markets pull back between 1 and 5 percent". Tokyo's Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.3 percent, while Seoul's Kospi fell 1.1 percent.

Sterling was last trading at $1.3013, up 0.30 percent on the day.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.25 percent from 2.26 percent late Tuesday. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 13.20 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,396.95. Ten-year yields were around 2.25 percent earlier in the week.

BONDS: Bond prices fell. In a note to investors, Paul Christopher, head global market strategist, and Tracie McMillion, head of global asset allocation, suggest, "the threat of a nuclear weapon is certainly more serious than previous threats, but that threat also may increase the probability of a diplomatic solution". The Stoxx Europe 600 benchmark was down 1% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-face-worst-week-in-9-months-on-us-north-korea-tensions-2017-08-11), while Hong Kong's Hang Seng led the Asian losses with a drop of 2%.

US crude rose 0.43 percent to $48.80 per barrel and Brent was last at $52.01, up 0.21 percent on the day.

"This inflation data for the month was not good".

Gold - generally regarded as a safer asset in times of uncertainty - hit its highest price for more than two months on Friday, touching $1,288.97 an ounce at one point. Economists had expected prices to rise by 0.2%.