USA stocks fall again on North Korea tensions

It comes as US President Donald Trump stepped up his rhetoric in the on-going North Korean nuclear missile stand-off.

Despite simmering concerns about the standoff between the US and North Korea, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 53.23 points to 21,897.24, the S&P 500 index edged up 8.60 points to 2,446.81 and the Nasdaq composite index added 34.63 points to 6,251.50. The Nasdaq index declined over 2% on the day with the S&P 500 index retreating around 1.5%. The Russell 2000 index gave up 1.7 percent to 1,372.54.

"The latest threats over North Korea have finally escalated to the point where the market has been obliged to react", said Ric Spooner, an analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.

In other news, United States wholesale inflation dropped in July, the first contraction in almost a year and another data point that could weaken the case for the Federal Reserve to raise the benchmark interest rate again later this year.

South Korea's KOSPI .KS11 fell 1.7 percent on Friday to its lowest since May 24, but its losses for the week were a relatively modest 3.2 percent. Macy's was down 8.9 percent after the company said its sales continued to decline in the second quarter.

The Nasdaq is up 833.75 points, or 15.5 percent.

On Tuesday, stronger-than-expected U.S.jobs data from the Labor Department weighed on gold, dragging prices to the lowest since July 26 at $1,251.01 an ounce.

Against the Swiss franc, it fared slightly better and was broadly flat on the day at 1.1319 francs per euro. Brent crude, used to price global oils, declined 23 cents to $51.67 per barrel in London. Kohl's also declined, giving up $2.43, or 5.8 percent, to $39.50. Netflix lost 1.5 percent.

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In an inversion of the curve, the spot VIX rose above VIX futures, meaning traders are paying more for protection against a sudden sharp drop on the S&P than for protection in the future. Only 3 of the 30 stocks in the Dow finished the day with a gain: IBM, Coca-Cola and McDonald's. Wholesale gasoline dropped 2 cents to $1.60 a gallon, while heating oil shed 2 cents to $1.63 a gallon. The September copper contract was down two cents to US$2.91 a pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 110.00 yen from 110.06 late Wednesday in Asia.

The $1,279 area is a key technical level, representing a downtrend that has been in force since mid-2016 when gold surged to a two-year peak of $1,374.91.

Global benchmark Brent also fell 0.9 percent to $51.44, after Thursday's 1.5 percent drop.

As impressive as that is, the Dow was only up about 400 points, or 1.8%, during its recent string of records.

Platinum gained 1.1 percent to $982.40 per ounce after touching $983.60, the highest since April 18.

A broader measure of the dollar, the ICE Dollar index, which compares the buck to six rivals, was trading at 93.6450 compared with 93.7170 before the jobless claims release. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was off 0.3 percent.

The Australian dollar, sensitive to shifts in risk sentiment, was down 0.5 percent at $0.7876.

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