S&P closes barely lower despite N. Korea tensions

Why Did the S&P 500 NASDAQ and Dow Change Direction

Why Did the S&P 500 NASDAQ and Dow Change Direction

USA trading volume has been low with summer setting in and Congress expected to be in recess until September 5.

The biggest fallers were G4S down 24.7p to 305.9p, Standard Chartered down 20.9p to 783.1p, Prudential down 44p to 1,841.5p, Shire down 92p to 3,945p.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: "European stocks have suffered greatly today as traders were prompted to cut-and-run due to the escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea".

Trump issued a new tweet-warning to Pyongyang on Friday: "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely".

US indexes were trading at session lows on Thursday afternoon, with the Dow and the Nasdaq posting triple-digit point declines, as investors fretted over escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.

Baker Avenue's Lip said the US market was higher due to "bargain hunters", but "there's more room for the market to come down".

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

USA stocks deepened their losses following the latest Trump comments, and the S&P 500 volatility index, known unofficially as the "fear index", rose decisively.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 91.01 points to 15,126.32, after 90 minutes of trading. "Pretty remarkable, perhaps even extraordinary, considering", said Tim Ash, strategist at fund manager BlueBay.

The focus on North Korea has largely overshadowed a Labor Department report showing an unexpected drop in USA producer prices in the month of July.

In the first four days of the week, the Standard & Poor's 500 index swung from marking its latest record high to posting its biggest single-day drop in almost three months.

In Europe, equities dived with London losing 0.6 percent, while Frankfurt shed 1.1 percent and Paris fell 1.4 percent.

Investors also drew some encouragement from new government data showing US inflation at the consumer level inched higher last month.

"If the data continues to come in on the softer side, the market might start to price the Fed staying on hold this year", said Sireen Harajli, FX strategist at Mizuho in NY.

Apple (AAPL.O) pared gains after rising as much as 1.91 percent to an all-time high and provided the biggest boost to all three indexes, while healthcare stocks such as Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) were the biggest weight on the S&P.

The overall financials group, which accounts for roughly a third of the index slipped 0.9 percent.

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

Perrigo was up 9.5 percent after the company raised its full-year adjusted earnings forecast. Silver also rose, gaining 47 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $16.86 an ounce.

The Chinese volatility gauge jumped by the most since January 2016, to its highest level in more than seven months.

Ongoing global glut concerns lingered in oil markets despite a bigger-than-expected draw in USA crude inventories.

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