S&P falls 1.4 pct in safety flight on N. Korea tensions

The hardwood floor of the Oval Office is resurfaced as the West Wing of the White House in Washington undergoes renovations while President Donald Trump is spending time at his golf resort in New Jersey Friday Aug. 11 2017. (AP

The hardwood floor of the Oval Office is resurfaced as the West Wing of the White House in Washington undergoes renovations while President Donald Trump is spending time at his golf resort in New Jersey Friday Aug. 11 2017. (AP

Geopolitical concerns contributed to the continued strength among treasuries amid an ongoing escalation in tensions between the US and North Korea.

Investors have been jittery about North Korea since Tuesday when Trump said any threats from Pyongyang would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen".

The sell-off is likely to extend into the European session, with financial spread-better CMC Markets expecting Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 to open down about 0.7% each and Britain's FTSE 100 to start 0.55% lower.

The CBOE Volatility Index, a barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, closed at its highest since the election.

Overseas markets were also lower Wednesday.

The dollar also slipped 0.26 percent lower against the yen to 110.01 yen.

"When investors are optimistic to the extreme, it means that most of their money is already in the market and there's no more money coming in", Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W. Baird & Co in Sarasota, Florida. The Korean won also continued to skid, down 0.45% to 1,147.2, falling below its 200-day moving average for the first time in a month.

Although Japan could be in the front line of any clash with North Korea, the yen is benefitting because Japan is the world's biggest creditor nation and Japanese investors tend to repatriate funds in times of stress, attracting other flows.

Gold prices were up almost 1% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-gains-about-1-as-us-north-korea-tensions-grow-2017-08-09) to $1,273.30 an ounce.

On the currency front, the USA dollar is trading at 108.82 yen compared to the 109.20 yen it fetched at the close of NY trading on Thursday.

The recent resilience of data on the United States economy has not dampened the latest climb, despite depressing prices earlier in the week as reports returned high employment figures ahead of further USA inflation information this week.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 1.06 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.17 percent.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell less than a point to 2,474, making up much of the ground it lost earlier.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor, for instance, resulted in a 3.8 percent drop in the S&P 500 on December 7, 1941.

Australian shares fell to near three-week lows in a broad-based selloff.

Macy's shares closed down 10.2 percent and Kohl's fell nearly 6 percent as the companies continued to report a drop in quarterly same-store sales, stoking concerns that their turnarounds may still be a long way off.

A report released by the Labor Department showed a modest uptick in consumer prices in the United States in the month of July.

Bond prices came under pressure early in the session and remained stuck in the red throughout the day.

Crude futures extended losses on fears of slowing demand and lingering concerns over a global oversupply meanwhile.

Amid the hot rhetoric, USA stocks sold off sharply on Thursday, with the S&P 500 falling more than 1 percent.

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