This Tuesday, May 2, 2017, photo shows Macy's corporate signage at its flagship store in NY.
USA indexes were trading at session lows on Thursday afternoon, with the Dow and the Nasdaq posting triple-digit point declines, as investors fretted over escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.
The latest sell-off was the most severe yet, amounting to the biggest single-day drop for the stock market in almost three months. But some investors welcomed the dip in the sector, which has been S&P's leading gainer so far this year. "That reset is being triggered by North Korea geopolitical concern and stretched valuations", said Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group, New York. "As long as it doesn't go beyond just a war of words, this is going to be short-lived".
At 12:36 p.m. ET (1636 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 158.98 points, or 0.72 percent, at 21,889.72 and the S&P 500 was down 27.37 points, or 1.11 percent, at 2,446.65.
Losses in health care and consumer-focused companies pulled U.S. stocks broadly lower Tuesday, snapping a 10-day winning streak for the Dow Jones industrial average.
The Nasdaq Composite was down 115.35 points, or 1.82 percent, at 6,236.98.
If the decline continues, Paulsen said, it will be "a good buying opportunity". The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 0.3 percent, to 1,410.15. All the indexes are down for the week.
Simmering tensions between the US and North Korea were also weighing on the market. North Korea responded with threats to launch missiles into the Pacific Ocean near Guam, a US territory.
A series of downbeat corporate reports also weighed on US stocks. That's the biggest increase since May. Major U.S. indices had posted record highs in recent weeks.
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"Markets are looking for any reason at all for a reset. I don't see it as a fear-driven sell-off".
Many market participants have been calling for a significant decline on the S&P 500.
Global markets were sharply lower on Wednesday.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region saw continued weakness during trading on Friday.
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The decline followed overnight losses on Wall Street. Its shares slid $11.64 to $61.70. The trend appeared to overshadow strong quarterly revenue growth in the quarter. The Dow slid also fell 0.2 percent, to 22,085.34.
But U.S. stocks regained some lost ground, despite Trump's comments Friday that U.S. weapons are "locked and loaded", ready to respond if North Korea acts "unwisely". Oil prices were headed higher.
In an inversion of the curve, the spot VIX rose above VIX futures, meaning traders are paying more for protection against a sudden sharp drop on the S&P than for protection in the future. Wholesale gasoline dropped 2 cents to $1.60 a gallon, while heating oil shed 2 cents to $1.63 a gallon. Havens such as gold have risen, with contracts for August delivery rising 0.8% to $1,283.70 on Thursday. Silver gained 20 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $17.07 an ounce. On the Nasdaq, 2,303 issues fell and 567 advanced.
The dollar slipped to 109.26 yen from 109.85 late Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.1735 from $1.1752. Germany's DAX fell 0.9 percent, while the CAC 40 in France lost 0.5 percent. The consumer discretionary index was one of its biggest losers with a 0.47 percent drop.
In response, Japan began on Saturday to deploy its missile defense system Patriot, after threats from Pyongyang. North Korea has lashed back at the US following President Donald Trump's latest warnings .
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In commodities, US. crude fell 0.67 per cent to $49.23 per barrel and Brent was last at $52.58, down 0.23 per cent on the day. Inflation has risen 1.7 percent over the past 12 months, suggesting that inflation pressures remain well under control.
Investors bought bonds after the Labor Department said the consumer-price index increased 0.1% in July from the previous month. An index of 15 gold miners tracked by Bloomberg Intelligence climbed 1.1 percent, led by Toronto-based Yamana Gold Inc.
Ambassador Nikki Haley "has [gained] diplomatic traction" and "is gaining diplomatic results", according to the BBC. The North was responding to Trump's threat in a statement from its military carried by state-run news agency KCNA.
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After touching a more than two-month high at US$1,291.86, spot gold last added 0.2 per cent to US$1,288.81 an ounce. Pyongyang said it was examining plans for attacking Guam, a US territory in the Pacific with a military base.
But some economists say the Fed may stand pat for the rest of 2017 unless inflation accelerates in coming months. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, rose 20 cents to $52.10 a barrel in London .
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Investors also drew some encouragement from government data showing US inflation at the consumer level only inched higher in July. The reclusive state raised the stakes further with a detailed plan to send a salvo of missiles towards the USA territory of Guam.
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