Earlier on Thursday, North Korea revealed a plan to launch ballistic missiles toward a major US military hub in the Pacific.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, popped almost 11 percent to 11.02.
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. The Nasdaq Composite took an even bigger hit, closing down 2.1% at 6,216.87. It is now on track for its biggest weekly drop since the week before the November 8 USA presidential election. On the Nasdaq, 1,596 issues rose and 1,112 fell.
The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, was facing its worst week since the one ended December 2, which logged a loss of just over 2%.
After a dip of as much as 0.52 percent earlier in the day, investors appeared to take some comfort in Tillerson's comments, said Richard Steinberg, managing director at HighTower Advisors in NY.
Christian Hackenberg shows definite signs of progress in Jets' preseason opener
NY scored its lone touchdown when Josh McCown connected wtih Charone Peake on a 4-yard touchdown pass in the opening quarter. The good: Hack started 14-for-18 where the only incompletions were three drops and a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage.
"With retail earnings, it would be interesting to see if expectations have fallen enough for these companies to beat them", Wiegand said. "This may suggest much is in the price, and therefore risk appetite is taking its own summer holiday", he said in a note to clients.
A report on consumer price inflation is likely to attract attention on Friday, with consumer prices expected to rise by 0.2 percent in July. Economists had expected productivity to increase by 0.7 percent.
There's a handful of high-profile economic data coming out of the Asia Pacific region to end the week, including: July house sales for New Zealand, the final reading of second-quarter growth as well as July retail sales for Singapore, and Hong Kong's second-quarter growth.
On the Fed speaker list, Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan is scheduled to appear in a question-and-answer session at the University of Texas Arlington, in Arlington, Virginia, at 9:40 a.m.
MLB Trade Rumors: Brewers reportedly close to adding Mets infielder Neil Walker
His salary this season is $17.2 million, of which the Brewers would appear to be responsible for about the remaining $4.7 million. Overall though, Walker has actually had a decent second year in Queens, so the Brewers will be picking a very talented infielder.
A fresh batch of retail earnings is in focus, too, with Dillard's among several stocks within the sector set to plunge after reporting.
Downbeat corporate earnings weighed on major indexes on Thursday.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond fell to 2.2% and is approaching its lowest level of the year.
Gold held steady at two-month high with spot gold rising 0.1 percent to $1,287.83 per ounce, putting the precious metal on pace for its biggest weekly gains since April.
Trump's weird brag about the nuclear arsenal doesn't square with reality
Trump's approval rating in the daily Gallup presidential tracking poll now stands at just 37 percent. No debate, no discussion, no understanding at all of what they were actually talking about.
"When you have a market like we have had this year, and it has been amazingly calm, and you introduce a major source of uncertainty, there is bound to be some reaction", said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial.