Seoul stocks down 1.1% on heightened tensions over North Korea

US stocks close slightly lower, trimming earlier losses

Stocks slide on continued concern over tension between US and North Korea

Canada's main stock index fell to its lowest close in a month on Thursday as oil prices fell and investors sought refuge in safe-haven assets amid rising tensions between the United States and North Korea.

The rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea has continued to heat up, leading traders to look to safe havens such as gold and treasuries.

Technology companies led a broad slide in USA stocks Thursday afternoon, putting the market on track for its biggest loss in two months.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major indexes in Europe slumped.

The news was also greeted with dismay by traders in Asia, with Tokyo down 1.3 percent, Hong Kong losing 0.4 percent and Seoul registering a 1.1-percent decline.

Still, the S&P and the Dow were on track to post their biggest weekly loss in about five months and the Nasdaq on course to post its biggest weekly fall in about six weeks.

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.

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.

"Of course it's all come at a time when share markets are due for a correction, so North Korea has provided a flawless trigger", he added.

Dow e-minis were up 6 points, or 0.03 percent, with 29,187 contracts changing hands at 8:34 a.m. ET (1234 GMT).

The S&P 500 closed just below the flat line at 2,474.02. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.1 basis points at 2.220%.

J.C. Penney slumped as much as 18.25 percent to a record low after the retailer reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.

North Korea claimed "only absolute force" can work on someone as "bereft of reason" as Trump and detailed plans to fire a salvo of missiles into waters around the US Pacific territory of Guam.

Charter Communications rose 2.9 percent on news Altice is exploring a bid for the cable giant. On the Nasdaq, 1,462 issues rose and 1,227 fell. Twenty-First Century Fox gave up 46 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $27.57.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 24 cents to $48.37 per barrel on the on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, declined 20 cents to $51.70 per barrel in London. Oil prices veered lower as early gains faded.

The September crude contract was up 20 cents to US$49.76 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was up seven cents to US$2.95 per mmBTU. Copper fell 2 cents to $2.93 a pound.

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