Tensions between North Korea and the USA have intensified in recent days after Trump warned of severe retribution should the authoritarian state proceed with any more missile tests or threats.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, rose to a near three-month high of 15.49.
The Labor Department said its consumer price index inched up by 0.1 percent in July after coming in unchanged in June.
The S&P is trading near its most expensive valuation level since 2004, as measured by the price-to-12-month forward earnings ratio.
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Nervous investors drove shares lower earlier in the week, after President Trump declared Tuesday that the US would react with "fire and fury" to further nuclear provocations from North Korea.
"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely".
The S&P 500 index had its biggest one-day drop in nearly three months on Thursday as investors fled riskier assets, with technology stocks leading the charge, in response to an increasingly aggressive exchange of threats between the United States and North Korea. Major U.S. indices had posted record highs in recent weeks. The VIX has hovered near record lows this year.
"The easy money has already been made", said Joel Kulina, senior vice president of institutional cash equities at Wedbush Securities in NY.
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The S&P's record close on August 7 likely helped fuel its latest sell-off. "If the answer is yes, then you better get defensive. This is a normal fluctuation, it just seems so odd because we have hardly had any volatility", said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group in Minneapolis. ANZ fell 1.9%, Commonwealth shed 0.7% and Westpac declined 1.3% after RBA Governor Philip Lowe said the central bank is prepared to be patient on rates for quite some time. I'd look into energy, materials, industrials, tech and financials.
European stocks have fallen for a third day on Friday and look headed for their worst week since early November previous year, as US President Donald Trump's rhetoric on North Korea over the past few days made investors risk averse. The Russell 2000 index gave up 24.40 points, or 1.8 percent, to 1,372.54. Yields on bonds move inversely to their price.
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. The major index futures are now pointing to a modestly higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 21 points.
"There's not a fundamental reason why what we're seeing out of North Korea right now should affect stock market prices, but it's being used as the reason to sell off right now because we've been looking for it for so long", Schiegoleit said.
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"We're still close to the all-time high so that makes people a little nervous too, so they might say now might be the time to take a little bit of money off the table".