The Dow lost more than 100 points on Thursday as investors fretted over escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.
North Korea on Thursday outlined details for a missile strike near the US territory of Guam, adding fuel to rising tensions with the United States.
The latest tensions began after US President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned North Korea that it would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States.
All the 11 major S&P indexed were lower, with technology sector’s 0.62% leading the decliners.
At 9:38 a.m. ET (1338 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 85.43 points, or 0.39%, at 21 963.27, the S&P 500 was down 10.31 points, or 0.42% at 2 463.71.
The Nasdaq Composite was down 37.30 points, or 0.59%, at 6 315.03.
“There seems to be a heightened fear of an escalation,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
With Japan and South Korea also warning North Korea, investors are taking a step back to see what is happening before chipping in back, Bakhos said.
Safe-haven assets such as gold and the Swiss franc were again in favor. Gold hit a two-month high of $1 278 an ounce amid the nervousness.
Retail results are also on investors’ mind as the second-quarter earning season winds down.
Shares of Kohl’s were down 8.4%, while Macy’s fell 4% after the department store operators reported a fall in sales.
Blue Apron shares hit a record low at $5.03 after the meal-kit delivery service provider reported a bigger-than-expected loss in its first quarterly report as a public company.
Data showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but the underlying trend remained consistent with a tightening labor market.
Separately, US producer prices unexpectedly fell in July, recording their biggest drop in nearly a year, weighed down by declining costs for services and energy products.
Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley is set to speak later in the day and his comments will be parsed for clues regarding the future pace of interest rate hikes.
Perrigo surged 16.08% after the drugmaker raised its full-year adjusted profit forecast.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1 847 to 678. On the Nasdaq, 1 685 issues fell and 615 advanced favoring decliners.