Banks and retail chains were also among the big decliners.
"Amid tensions in the worldwide arena, it's hard to seek higher prices ahead of three days of holidays", Kawaguchi said.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 17 points, or 0.29 percent, on volume of 36,232 contracts. Regions Financial shed 23 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $14.07.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday afternoon that his earlier warnings to North Korea may not have been tough enough. The move added to escalating U.S.
North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program Has Grown With Each Kim Regime
He did not elaborate. "(The North has) improved their missile launch capacity, but that's neither here nor there", he said. Aegis is able to track 100 missiles simultaneously and fire interceptors to take out an enemy's ballistic projectiles.
If North Korea launches an attack that threatens the US, China should stay neutral, but if the US attacks first and tries to overthrow North Korea's government, China will stop them, a Chinese state-run newspaper has said. Markets in greater China mirrored the slide in global equities.
USA stocks closed slightly lower Wednesday, making up much of the ground they lost earlier following a rare batch of earnings disappointments by Walt Disney and other big companies. The fact that ended with a 1%-plus drop, however, might be good news.
Kohl's, another department store chain, slumped 8.9 percent after reporting that second-quarter sales dipped 0.9 percent compared with the year-ago period.
Heading into Thursday, some 89 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 had reported quarterly results. The stock fell $2.25 to $20.79. Its shares tumbled $11.35 to $61.99. Rival Advanced Micro Devices was also down 3.4 percent. The stock fell $1.07 to $5.17.
OPEC pumped more oil in July as global oil supplies rose for the third straight month, the IEA said Friday, giving figures that cast further doubt on the cartel's pledge to cut output to raise prices. Prices for bonds and gold headed higher.
How to View the Solar Eclipse From Hawai'i This Summer
And there's another warning: Counterfeit eclipse glasses that look like the real thing, but may not protect your eyes properly. A bus might sound like great option, but be careful you don't make a reservation only to end up without transportation.
OIL: Crude oil gave up early gains.
The franc reversed a two-week losing streak and gained 1.1% to as firm as 0.9611 per dollar. It added 39 cents to $49.56 a barrel on Wednesday.
Silver was almost flat at $17.08 per ounce after hitting $17.24, its highest since June 14 in the previous session. The September copper contract was down two cents to $2.91 a pound.
South Korea's won currency dropped 0.9% against the dollar. The next possible support for the euro-franc pair is seen around the 1.10 mark.
Several indexes closed lower overnight. Germany's DAX fell 0.9 percent, while the CAC 40 in France lost 0.5 percent. Alliance Data Systems fell $6.28, or 2.7 percent, to $225.64.
Facts About North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un
With Australia's Malcolm Turnbull pledging support to the U.S. , the implications for the Asia-Pacific region are huge . Trump also said that his critics only complained about his tough rhetoric on North Korea "because it's me".
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