S&P falls 1.4% in safety flight on North Korea tensions

S&P, Dow hit record highs as Apple climbs

S&P, Dow hit record highs as Apple climbs

Global stock markets ended their worst week in months amid rising tensions between the USA and North Korea, though US stock indexes steadied on Friday to close up slightly.

Falls were also seen on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.5% about 15 minutes into trading and the Nasdaq (Frankfurt: 813516 - news) tumbling by 0.6%.

The Dow and S&P 500 clinched record closes on Monday, Aug. 7, marking the 35th all-time high for the Dow this year, a streak not seen since the 38 record closes in 2014.

The S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 5.99 points, or 0.24 percent, to close at 2,474.92 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 13.31 points, or 0.21 percent, to 6,370.46.

The overall financials group, which accounts for roughly a third of the index, declined 1.4 per cent, while energy shares also fell 1.4 per cent as oil prices turned down.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 68.30 points, or 1.08 percent, at 6,284.03.

Trump had told North Korea to not "make any more threats" to the USA or the country "will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen". Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later insisted the USA isn't signalling it's about to mete out a military response despite threats from North Korea suggesting it could attack Guam, a US island territory in the Pacific. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.22 percent from 2.26 percent late Tuesday. Other safe havens were the Swiss franc and gold.

But U.S. stocks regained some lost ground, despite Trump's comments Friday that U.S. weapons are "locked and loaded", ready to respond if North Korea acts "unwisely". Viacom slid 60 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $30.17.

J.C. Penney (JCP.N) slumped as much as 18.25 percent to a record low after the retailer reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.

Computer hardware stocks rebounded following recent weakness, with the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index climbing by 1.4%.

In Asia, markets were mostly lower after disappointing Chinese trade data.

The market indexes wavered between small gains and losses for much of the morning, then veered lower by afternoon.

"The high drama has prompted traders to take their cash out of stocks, and invest it in safer assets like gold".

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 11.11) gained 0.2 point, or 1.4%.

Manulife Financial Corp was down 1.1 percent to C$25.64.

Focusing on United Kingdom stocks, BT and Lloyds Banking Group were among the biggest fallers after going ex-dividend. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled by 1.1 percent.

The euro slid to $1.1732 from $1.1752.

Benchmark U.S. crude added 39 cents to settle at $49.56 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The September copper contract was down two cents to US$2.91 a pound. Brent crude, used to price global oils, gained 10 cents to $52.24 in London.

The dollar fell to 109.85 yen from 110.48 yen late Tuesday.

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