Wall Street lower as investors weigh rising North Korea tensions

US sent two bombers to Korea this week: official

Asian stocks steadied and US Treasury bond prices fell slightly on Thursday as the risk aversion triggered by the latest flare up of tensions between the United States and North Korea began to settle.

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.

All the 11 major S&P indexed were lower, with technology sector's 0.62 percent leading the decliners.

The Nasdaq lost 2.1% to 6,216.87.

KOREA JITTERS: With President Donald Trump warning North Korea of "fire and fury", investors have become concerned that the war of words between Washington and Pyongyang could escalate.

In the United Kingdom, gold mining stocks Randgold Resource and Fresnillo were among the few to gain - up 2.8% and 4.9%.

Gold was the big victor Wednesday as stocks pared back to moderate losses and Walt Disney (DIS) dragged on the Dow, while Netflix (NFLX) and Priceline Group (PCLN) hindered the Nasdaq and retailers took some brutal hits after reporting second-quarter results.

All three major equity benchmarks stumbled firmly lower on Thursday, with the trifecta of indexes on track to fall in three consecutive sessions in unison for the first time since mid April amid a persistent war of words between the US and North Korea.

Numerous large defense stocks have already rallied based on expectations for an improved outlook for USA defense spending under the Trump administration.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.08 percent versus the greenback at 110.00 per dollar.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 1.1 percent, while France's CAC 40 slid 1.4 percent. The index has fallen to its lowest intraday level in well over a month. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman all rose and the Dow Jones U.S. defense index was up 1.6 percent after hitting a record high. Also, the figures and forecasts of vehicle rental company Avis were disappointing and that share trimmed 10 percent.

Investors reacted by driving up the price of gold and bonds, traditional safe investments. Silver also rose, gaining 43 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $16.82 an ounce.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 23 cents to $48.94 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The euro edged down to $1.1726 from $1.1751.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.7% at closing, France's CAC 40 fell 1.4% after a vehicle hit a group of soldiers in Paris in what is thought to have been a deliberate act, and a fall in bond yields saw Germany's DAX down 1.1%. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, gave up 29 cents to $51.85 in London. Gold settled up 1.4% at $1,256.40 an ounce, then rose almost 2% - to almost $1,283 - after Wednesday's settlement.

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