How major USA stock market indexes fared Thursday

U.S. stocks closed lower on Tuesday after a late afternoon selling spree as investors fled for safety after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to respond aggressively to any threats from North Korea.

Analyst Mike Van Dulken at Accendo Markets said most safe havens assets remained on the front foot, "but this is not necessarily at the expense of all risk assets, with oil approaching is best levels for August following yesterday's United States inventory data (big crude drawdown), Copper flat around recent 2yr highs and iron ore off its lows". "What's happened in North Korea is enough to do that", said Matthew Peterson, Chief Wealth Strategist for LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina. "That did temporarily shake investors' complacency, but we think markets are ready to move higher in the back half of the year, and earnings and economic data are going to drive that". Wall Street was poised for a soft opening with S&P futures and Dow futures both down 0.2 percent. The index had its biggest drop since mid-May a day earlier.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 35.81 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,438.21. The Nasdaq added 39.68 points, or 0.6 percent, to 6,256.56.

The S&P 500 index was on track for its first daily drop of more than 1 percent in nearly three months on Thursday as investors grew cautious over escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.

The recovery fit a recent pattern of investors using dips to put more money in stocks.

The CBOE Volatility Index, better known as the VIX and the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, rose the most in about 12 weeks.The index ended up 4.93 points at 16.04, the highest level since November 8, when Trump was elected president. Financials fell the most, down about 1 percent. The slide deepened after Trump's remarks on North Korea aired.

Tensions between the US and North Korea continued to simmer early Friday.

More than 430 stocks from all US exchanges hit their lowest levels in 52 weeks or more on Thursday, the most for any session since mid-November right after Trump was elected.

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 U.S. and North Korea".

Still, there were fewer signs of anxiousness in the markets Friday. The stock was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500, adding $8.02 to $45.25. It's still the highest it's been since May. The Fed, which raised its key interest rate in March and June, has signaled it plans a third rate hike before the end of this year. "The pot is on the stove boiling but no inflation steam is coming out".

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"Today's inflation data put the Fed on pause and really diminishes the fact that there's still some noise going around with the North Korea-U.S. situation", said Phil Blancato, CEO of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management. Only utilities sector stocks eked out a gain on a day of mostly listless trading as investors kept an eye on the latest company earnings and geopolitical news. Lam Research Corp. climbed $4.82, or 3.2 percent, to $154.26. On the Nasdaq, 2,082 issues fell and 669 advanced. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.2 percent.

Avis Budget Group slumped 9.9 percent after the vehicle rental company cut its guidance following a weak second quarter. The stock lost 78 cents to $3.93.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 22 cents to $49.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

A series of downbeat corporate reports also weighed on US stocks.

Bond prices were little changed. Natural gas was also flat at $2.98 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The dollar slipped to 109.04 yen from 109.26 late Thursday. The euro slid to $1.1752 from $1.1793.

The decline was broad, with all the 11 major S&P indexes lower. Germany's DAX was flat, while France's CAC 40 fell 1.1 percent.

After an hour of trading, the FTSE was down 46.18 or 0.6% to 7,451.88, with the FTSE 250 down 0.1% to just over 19,854.

Markets were largely flat otherwise, with the S&P down 0.04% overnight and losses in Asia were small.

The Dow is up 2,081.41 points, or 10.5 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.2 percent.

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