Futures lower as N.Korea tensions extend to third day

The Dow was heading for a tenth straight record close on Tuesday after better-than-expected US jobs dataMore

Travel and media companies led US stocks lower in afternoon trading Wednesday as some rare earnings disappointments weighed on the market.

The broad-based S&P 500 was hit even harder, dropping 1.5 percent to close at 2,438.22, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 2.2 percent 6,216.87.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 14 points, a gain of 0.07 percent, the Nasdaq composite rose almost 40 points or 0.64 percent and the S&P 500 gained 3 points or 0.13 percent.

Macy's shares closed down 10.2 percent and Kohl's fell nearly 6 percent as the companies continued to report a drop in quarterly same-store sales, stoking concerns that their turnarounds may still be a long way off.

The CBOE Volatility Index, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term US stock market volatility, hit its highest mark since November 8, when Trump was elected president. Hong Kong slumped 2.04 per cent, Shanghai slipped 1.63 per cent, Korea shed 1.69 per cent, Jakarta fell 1.03 per cent. Singapore shares also ended in negative territory as increasingly bellicose talk between the United States and North Korea prompted investors to take money off the table, while traders trimmed positions ahead of the weekend.

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Investors opted for the perceived safety of US Treasuries, which pushed the yield on the 10-year note three basis points lower to 2.21 percent.

Second-quarter earnings have been stronger than expected with analysts now expecting S&P 500 earnings to have expanded 11.8 percent, up from 8 percent at the start of July, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Banks also fell 2 percent, putting the index on track for its worst week in nine months.

The FTSE 100 Index closed down 44.67 points at 7,498.06 after US President Donald Trump told North Korea he would unleash "fire and fury like the world has never seen" following suggestions the communist state can now strike America with a nuclear missile.

Korea's Kospi dropped 1.7%, cementing a weekly loss of 3.2%.

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MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 1.1 percent, while France's CAC 40 slid 1.4 percent.

The market's backstop safety asset, gold, edged up to its latest two-month high of $1,288 an ounce.

The focus on North Korea has largely overshadowed a Labor Department report showing an unexpected drop in USA producer prices in the month of July.

Politics lifted USA defense stocks.

Selling was broad. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE 6-to-1; on Nasdaq, a 3.60-to-1 ratio favored decliners. Copper rose 1 cent to $2.91 a pound.

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About 6.48 billion shares changed hands on USA exchanges on Wednesday compared with the 6.16 billion average for the last 20 sessions. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, rose 20 cents to $52.10 a barrel in London. The euro rose to $1.1824 from $1.1774.

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