Officials in Guam say it's safe from North Korea

Men walk past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Thursday Aug. 10 2017. Asian stocks were mostly lower in Thursday trading as investors began to digest worries over the escalating tensions caused

Regional stocks remained lower throughout the session after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an explicit threat to strike a USA military base in Guam (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/north-korea-threatens-missile-strike-on-us-base-on-guam-2017-08-08).

ANALYST'S TAKE: The U.S.jobs figure "was through the roof" and the NFIB survey "painted a much better picture for the U.S. economy than most believed", Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a report.

President Donald Trump that it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States as a "load of nonsense", and outlined detailed plans for a missile strike near the Pacific territory of Guam.

The last time the S&P closed down more than 1 percent was May 17 when it fell 1.8 percent.

"North Korea was fodder for the overnight trade, and as we headed into today we haven't seen any more saber-rattling", said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. The S&P 500 was down 6 points, or 0.25 percent, and the Nasdaq was down 35 points, or half a percent.

Investments regarded as safe havens had a strong showing in Europe Wednesday.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: "European stocks have suffered greatly as traders were prompted to cut-and-run due to the escalating tensions between the USA and North Korea". The back-and-forth statements from the two countries followed a Washington Post report on a USA intelligence confidential assessment that concluded North Korea has made a miniaturized nuclear warhead that will fit inside its missiles.

Korea's Kospi stock benchmark lost 1.1% as geopolitical concerns grew, clipping its year-to-date gain to 16.9%.

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South Korean shares, which have been among the strongest performers in the world so far this year, fell 1 percent, while the won sank around 0.6 percent to 1,134.5 to the dollar.

Semafo jumped 10.3 percent to C$2.99 after Credit Suisse raised its recommendation on the gold miner to "outperform" from "neutral" following its second-quarter results, and Finning International Inc rose 6.9 percent to C$27.63 after the heavy equipment company reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations and raised its dividend. While the UK's FTSE 100 Index has slumped by 1.5%, the German DAX Index is down by 1.1% and the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.8%. The NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index plunged by 3.4 percent to its lowest closing level in well over a month.

But despite the largest percentage drop in over a month on a global equities index, U.S. equities ended only slightly lower as healthy corporate earnings and a recent string of strong economic data enticed investors into beaten-down stocks.

The Swiss franc was on pace for its biggest single-day rise against the euro since the Swiss National Bank removed its cap on the currency in January 2015.

Oil prices rose after a report showed USA refineries processed record amounts of crude in the latest week, eating into inventories.

Oil prices settled lower after a volatile session on increasing exports from key OPEC producers and news of lower crude shipments from Saudi Arabia.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 109.77 yen from Tuesday's 110.34.

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