Global stock markets ended their worst week in months amid rising tensions between the USA and North Korea, though US stock indexes steadied on Friday to close up slightly.
ANALYST TAKE: "Equities look set to end this week on a downer, as geopolitical uncertainty regarding North Korea shakes volatility from its 2017 slumber", said Mike van Dulken, head of Research at Accendo Markets.
KOREA JITTERS: With President Donald Trump warning North Korea of "fire and fury", investors have become concerned that the war of words between Washington and Pyongyang could escalate.
Trump was responding to North Korea's claim it was completing plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later insisted the US isn't signalling it's about to mete out a military response despite threats from North Korea suggesting it could attack Guam, a USA island territory in the Pacific.
A notable decline by Disney (DIS) weighed on the Dow, with the entertainment giant slumping by 3.9% on the day.
Cempra (CEMP) is leading the biotech sector lower after reporting a narrower than expected second quarter loss but weaker than expected revenues.
On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing labor productivity increased by slightly more than expected in the second quarter. Economists had expected another 0.1% uptick. Bank of New York Mellon fell $1.56, or 2.9 percent, to $52.48, while Citizens Financial Group slid 86 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $34.17. The index has fallen to its lowest intraday level in nearly a month.
Steel and networking also saw some weakness on the day, although selling pressure was somewhat subdued. Fifteen of the Dow's 30 stocks ended higher, led by Home Depot and Travelers' 1.2% rallies.
Gold, another classic safe haven asset, was trading at around $1,288 per ounce, up more than two percent this week and near a nine-week high.
The S&P was only down 0.1 percent for the week entering the session.
"The market is trying to interpret the CPI data as somewhat positive because it is anticipating that the Fed will be on hold not only in September but also possibly in December", said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 1 points, or 0.02 percent, on volume of 49,062 contracts.
Investors reacted by driving up the price of gold and bonds, traditional safe-haven plays. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, dropped 4.2 basis points to 2.241%.