S&P closes barely lower despite North Korea tensions

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"North Korea best not make any more threats to the U.S.", Trump said. "Risk aversion is still very much a concern for markets", said Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist, at Scotiabank in Toronto. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 4.02 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,410.15.

The Dow Jones industrial average appeared to be on track for an 10th straight gain - one short of the all-time record - until Trump, speaking from his Bedminster, NJ, golf resort, promised to bring "fire and fury like the world has never seen" on North Korea if the country continues to threaten the US.

Sydney was a rare bright spot in Asia-Pacific with stocks closing 0.4 per cent up as Australia's biggest bank posted record annual profits.

TECH SLIDE: Losses among technology stocks led the market slide.

South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo told a press conference at the time of the vote that Seoul would take "independent measures" to curb the North's nuclear proliferation "as soon as possible".

Gold prices spiked to one-week highs Wednesday, on the back of a surge in safe haven demand, after North Korea said it is considering an attack on the US pacific territory of Guam.

The utilities index, often seen as a bond proxy because of its companies' slow reliable growth and high dividends, was the only S&P sector that ended the day up, showing a 0.25 percent gain.

A representative of the company that makes underground shelters said in an interview with Fox News that the sales of their products soared in Japan as well amid the threat from the DPRK (North Korea).

Major stock indexes overseas also racked up losses Thursday. "I think gold will break $1,300 in this particular rally coming up and I think silver can break $20", he added.

Oil prices edged higher after a report showed US refineries processed record amounts of crude in the latest week, eating into inventories, although a surprise jump in gasoline stockpiles limited gains. The euro edged down to $1.1727 from $1.1751. (NASDAQ:NFLX) are trading 3.5% lower in pre-market trading, after Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) announced Tuesday that it would end its partnership with Netflix and remove all Disney and Pixar movies from Netflix's platform by 2019.

USA crude rose 0.69 percent to $49.51 per barrel and Brent was last at $52.66, up 1 percent on the day.

The dollar fell to 109.85 yen from 110.48 yen late Tuesday. USA gold futures gained 1.50 percent to $1,281.50 an ounce.

While North Korea is likely to remain in focus, a report on consumer price inflation may also attract attention on Friday, with consumer prices expected to rise by 0.2 percent in July.

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