US, North Korea tensions ratchet up and the Street slides

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

Russian stock indexes fell on Friday as global risk aversion, sparked by geopolitical tensions between the United States and North Korea, boosted demand for safe haven assets, such as gold.

The Nasdaq finished the day at 6,216.87, a slide of 135.46, while the S&P 500 lost almost 1.5 percent, ending the day at 2,438.21.

At 10:57 a.m. ET (1457 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 54.38 points, or 0.25 percent, at 21,898.39, the S&P 500 was up 8.69 points, or 0.35 percent, at 2,446.90.

The price of crude oil dropped more than two percent Thursday, the cost of a barrel falling to $48.49.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea on Thursday not to strike Guam or U.S. allies, saying his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on Pyongyang if it launched an attack may not have been tough enough. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 6 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,390.

However, an Associated Press report that the USA and North Korea have been engaged in back channel talks (https://apnews.com/686ac7c761694b28b67793a1d8297145?link=mktw) for several months even as they exchange incendiary threats helped to soothe some of the jitters.

Technology stocks, the biggest gainers this year, led Thursday's market slide.

Ryu Yong-seok, a market analyst at KB Securities Co., said tensions between North Korea and the United States are partly to blame for the decline in the main index.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. backtracked 2.79 percent to 2,231,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. was down 4.66 percent to 61,400 won.

Several financial sector companies also helped pull down the market.

Disappointing quarterly results from big department store chains also weighed down the market. Macy's slumped 10 percent after reporting its 10th straight decline in a key sales measure.

Significant strength is also visible among computer hardware stocks, as reflected by the 1.1% advance by the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index. Yields fall when bond prices rise.

In the latest economic data, the consumer-price index (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-consumer-inflation-remains-soft-in-july-cpi-shows-2017-08-11) rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in July, its fifth straight month of softness, raising more questions about whether inflation will eventually rise to hit the Federal Reserve's 2% annual rate target.

The Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 78.67 cents USA, down 0.04 of a US cent. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.826 compared to yesterday's $1.1772. Its rouble-based peer MICEX shed 1.2 percent to 1,937 points, its lowest since August 1.

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