Stocks drop, led by technology companies

S&P, Dow hit record highs as Apple climbs

Escalating US-North Korea tensions hit markets

Technology and consumer-focused companies helped lift US stocks higher Tuesday, steering the market indexes further into record territory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI closed down 204.69 points, or 0.93 per cent, at 21,844.01, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 35.81 points, or 1.45 per cent, to end the session at 2,438.21 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC fell 135.46 points, or 2.13 per cent, to 6,216.87.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 39.02 points to 15,217.33, with most sectors finishing in the red while bullion stocks surged almost 1.9 per cent.

The FTSE 100 Index closed down 1.4%, or 108.12 points to 7,389.94, with Pyongyang unveiling plans to launch a volley of ballistic missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam, an America military hub.

GOT A PULSE: Health care stocks, which have been in a slump, were headed higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.26 percent.

The sabre-rattling - sparked when President Donald Trump stunned the world with an apocalyptic warning to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea - continued Thursday as Pyongyang mocked the United States leader as "bereft of reason".

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"That may have weighed a little bit" on markets, said Phil Guarco, global investment specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

The decline was broad, with all the 11 major S&P indexes lower. "The North Korea situation appears to be the culprit".

Beyond geopolitical concerns, investors continued to size up company earnings reports.

IN A SKID: Avis Budget Group slumped 6.8% to $31.13 after the vehicle rental company cut its guidance following a weak second quarter.

The biggest fallers were Standard Life down 16p to 410.8p, Rio Tinto down 109.5p to 3,370p, Old Mutual down 6.2p to 195.3p, Anglo American down 39p to 1,238.5p.

Shares of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. slid 6.2 percent after the theme park operator reported second-quarter revenue that fell short of Wall Street's expectations.

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Traders snapped up shares in companies that delivered strong quarterly results.

Retailers Wal-Mart (WMT), Home Depot (HD), Target (TGT), Staples (SPLS), and Gap (GPS) are also among the companies due to report their quarterly results next week.

In the next part, we'll discuss the S&P 500's top performers on August 8. Brent crude, used to price global oils, gained 10 cents to $52.24 in London.

The December gold contract was up US$12.40 to US$1,285.40 an ounce. The contract fell 97 cents, or 2 per cent, to close at $48.59 a barrel on Thursday.

Markets overseas were mixed Tuesday.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE100 was down over one percent, Germany's DAX traded 0.5 percent lower, while the French CAC40 index was 0.62 percent in the red, as of 9:00am GMT. The won declined as much as 0.8 per cent, falling to a three-week low, while the cost of insuring five-year South Korean sovereign bonds from non-payment climbed and the Kospi 200 volatility index jumped as much as 30 per cent.

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