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Wall Street drops hard as Korean tensions escalate

Trump on N. Korea remarks
Trump on N. Korea remarks 07:32

Technology companies led a broad slide in U.S. stocks late Thursday afternoon, giving the stock market its biggest loss in two months. And escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea weighed on the market for the third day in a row. Financial companies and department store operators were among the big decliners.

All three major stock indexes saw losses accelerate into the close after President Donald Trump amplified his fiery rhetoric aimed at North Korea's Kim Jong Un on Thursday afternoon.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 36 points, or 1.5 percent, to close at 2,438. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 205 points, or 0.9 percent, ending at 21,844 – the blue-chip index's first close below 22,000 since breaching that mark. The Nasdaq composite lost 135 points, or 2.1 percent, to finish at 6,217. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 24 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,378.

On Thursday, the U.S. and North Korea continued to exchange threats. Early in the day, North Korea revealed a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers.

North Korea threat 07:26

Later, speaking to reporters, President Donald Trump demanded that North Korea "get their act together" or face extraordinary trouble. The back and forth put investors in a selling mood for the third day in a row. The VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, jumped 37.1 percent, the biggest increase since May.

"The market has been looking for an excuse to sell off, and North Korea and the president gave the market that excuse," said David Schiegoleit, managing director at the U.S. Bank Private Client Wealth Management. "As long as it doesn't go beyond just a war of words, this is going to be short-lived."

Technology stocks, which lead all other sector stocks with a gain of more than 20 percent this year, fell the most. Nvidia (NVDA) fell $7.37, or 4.3 percent, to $164.74. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) gave up 71 cents, or 5.5 percent, to $12.12.

Several financial sector companies also helped pull down the market. Bank of New York Mellon (BNY) fell $2.09, or 3.8 percent, to $51.95, while Citizens Financial Group (CFG) slid $1.32, or 3.8 percent, to $33.71.

Disappointing quarterly results from big department store chains put investors in a selling mood. Macy's (M), Dillard's (DDS) and Kohl's (KSS) were all down after posting results.

Blue Apron (APRN) slumped 17.6 percent after the meal kit seller reported a sequential decline in customers in the second quarter due to a planned reduction in marketing. The trend appeared to overshadow strong quarterly revenue growth in the quarter. The stock fell $1.130 to $5.14.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.21 percent from 2.25 percent late Wednesday.

The price of oil gave up early gains. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 97 cents, or 2 percent, to $48.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid 80 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $51.90. In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline dropped 2 cents to $1.60 a gallon, heating oil shed 2 cents to $1.63 a gallon and natural gas rose 10 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $2.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold added $10.80, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $1,290.10 an ounce. Silver gained 20 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $17.07 an ounce. Copper fell 2 cents to $2.90 a pound.

The dollar slipped to 109.26 yen from 109.85 late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1774 from $1.1752.

Major indexes in Europe slumped. Germany's DAX fell 1.1 percent, while the CAC 40 in France lost 0.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 sank 1.4 percent. Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped less than 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 1.1 percent. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.5 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down nearly 0.1 percent.

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