Six out of the S&P 500's 11 major sectors closed positive on August 9.
The thirty-year bond auction drew a high yield of 2.818 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.32, while the ten previous thirty-year bond auctions had an average bid-to-cover ratio of 2.29.
Energy stocks fell along with the price of crude oil.
Small-company stocks fell more than the rest of the market Wednesday.
Japan said on Tuesday it was possible that North Korea had already developed nuclear warheads and warned of an acute threat posed by its weapons programs as Pyongyang's continues missile and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations sanctions. Non-OPEC production will get a health check later today when the Baker Hughes U.S. rig count is published at 1:00 p.m.
North Korea Threat: US, Japanese troops prepare for war
This comes after North Korea threatened to attack Guam earlier this week, following President Trump's " fire and fury " warning. Flatter flight paths could make them more threatening to extended targets, including, it now appears, the area around Guam .
Analysts said media and entertainment stocks also seemed to get caught up in the broader market drop, but emphasized it was often hard to isolate reasons behind specific stocks' movements.
North Korea responded to the threat with a warning of their own saying it was "carefully examining" the idea of a missile strike in Guam, a U.S. Pacific territory. The S&P 500 VIX Index, or CBOE Volatility Index, measures uncertainty in the market.
Macy's shares closed down 10.2 per cent and Kohl's fell nearly 6 per cent as the companies continued to report a drop in quarterly same-store sales, stoking concerns that their turnarounds may still be a long way off. The stock fell $3.30 to $30.09. On the Nasdaq, 2,082 issues fell and 669 advanced.
Traders snapped up shares in companies that delivered strong quarterly results.
And with that, the S&P 500's steak of 58 days without a 1% move in either direction came to an end.
Stocks slide on continued concern over tension between United States and North Korea
Crude briefly pared losses in late trading after USA inventories fell more than expected last week. The overall financials group, which accounts for roughly a third of the index slipped 0.9 percent.
Ralph Lauren Corp. shares gained $10.38, or 13.3 percent, to $88.53, while peer-to-peer loan company LendingClub Corp. added 99 cents, or 18.1 percent, to $6.45. The consumer discretionary index was one of its biggest losers with a 0.47 percent drop.
Right now, we're going to treat the current selling as a much needed short-term correction. Brent crude, the worldwide standard, lost 23 cents to $52.14 a barrel in London.
The December gold contract was up US$12.40 to US$1,285.40 an ounce. The September copper contract was down two cents to US$2.91 a pound.
The rhetoric, which began late Tuesday and continued into Friday, interrupted stocks' march higher and cracked the calm that has enveloped the market for months. Wall Street was poised for a soft opening with S&P futures and Dow futures both down 0.2 percent.
Offsetting the declines was a 0.4 percent gain by the materials group, which includes gold producers.
North Korea talk drags stocks lower; gold, yen rise
Shares of Snap were down as much as 14.23 percent and hit an all-time low following a miss on revenue and daily active users. Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped less than 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 1.1 percent.
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