Tensions over North Korea weigh on stocks but boost gold

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In other corporate news, shares of Snapchat parent Snap fell 13% after it reported earnings late Thursday that missed analyst forecasts.

Chinese bluechips lost 0.75 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 1.6 percent lower.

Gold futures for December delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose $3.40, or 0.26%, to $1,293.37 a troy ounce. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 1.69 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,374.23. It was the biggest percentage loss since mid-June.

"As a portfolio manager, you say, 'Do I think we'll get a war out of this?'", said Torsten Slok, chief global economist at Deutsche Bank.

Traders across the globe reacted with dismay to Trump's warning Thursday that his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on the reclusive nuclear-armed state may not have been "tough enough". Only 3 of the 30 stocks in the Dow finished the day with a gain: IBM, Coca-Cola and McDonald's.

Dudley also cautioned that "it's going to take some time" for inflation to rise to the central bank's 2 percent target even as he offered a generally positive outlook for the USA economy, job market and price pressures. WTI was last trading at $49.74 a barrel while Brent was at $52.95.

"Generally, earnings are good, .it's our view that this pullback (in stocks) should provide good buying opportunities", ABC Funds' Michael said.

Escalating tensions over North Korea's nuclear ambitions rattled investors Thursday, pulling global stock benchmarks lower.

Most Asian currencies stumbled, with the Korean won on pace for its biggest fall in almost eight weeks as North Korea warned it is "carefully examining" plans for a missile strike on the US Pacific territory of Guam.

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The S&P's record close on August 7 likely helped fuel its latest sell-off.

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

At 9:34 a.m. ET (1334 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 54.06 points, or 0.25%, at 21 898.07, the S&P 500 was up 5.23 points, or 0.21%, at 2 443.44. The euro fell to $1.1728 from $1.1757. It is now on track for its biggest weekly drop since the week before the November 8 USA presidential election. The index had its biggest drop since mid-May a day earlier.

Risk conditions will continue to have an important impact in the short term with gold gaining further support if there is no recovery in risk appetite.

"Since these are the stocks that have been in the spotlight the most, they tend to have the most volatility upwards and downwards", said Chris Bertelsen, chief investment officer of Aviance Capital Management in Sarasota, Florida.

The precious metal is often seen as a safe haven for investors during times of uncertainty. Germany's DAX fared better, trading only 0.2 percent lower at 11,989. Financial companies and department store operators were among the big decliners.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1 339 to 865.

About 6.48 billion shares changed hands on United States exchanges on Wednesday compared with the 6.16 billion average for the last 20 sessions.

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