Gains among technology companies helped snap a three-day losing streak for USA stocks Friday, though the market ended with its worst weekly loss since March. The index hit a life-high of 415.49 earlier.
The negative headlines provided many investors with an opportunity to pocket some of their recent gains following a string of record highs fueled by strong corporate earnings.
Disappointing earnings also helped pull the market lower Wednesday.
At 12:28 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 52.87 points, or 0.24 percent, at 22,032.47, the S&P 500 was down 2.8 points, or 0.11 percent, at 2,472.12. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has slumped by 1.5 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 1.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.8 percent. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, losing $155 to $1,893.99.
US equities steepened their losses late in the session after President Donald Trump said his earlier warnings to North Korea may not have been tough enough.
Investors have been jittery about North Korea since Tuesday when Trump said any threats from Pyongyang would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen".
Trump's comments came as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an explicit threat to strike a USA military base in Guam (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/north-korea-threatens-missile-strike-on-us-base-on-guam-2017-08-08).
Still, there were fewer signs of anxiousness in the markets Friday. It's still the highest it's been since May.
About 6.22 billion shares changed hands on USA stock exchanges, slightly above the 6.15 billion average for the last 20 sessions. July's 0.1 percent increase in consumer prices suggests that the Federal Reserve may be less likely to raise interest rates next month.
South Korea's KOSPI fell 1.7 percent to its lowest since May 24, but its losses for the week are a relatively modest 3.2 percent.
"I still think there's more good news than bad news [in results] because you're still seeing underlying economies growing at a decent clip", said Andrew King, head of European equities at BNP Paribas Investment Partners. "That reset is being triggered by North Korea geopolitical concern and stretched valuations", said Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group, New York.
Drugmaker Galapagos was the sole bright spot, up 3.2 percent as brokers upgraded their view on the stock which outperformed on Thursday as well after a successful drug trial.
Oil stocks were feeling the additional weight of lower oil prices, which were down about 1%. The stock lost $5.23 to $101.75. The Dow shed 0.2 percent.
USA crude was down 0.9 percent at $48.16 per barrel, on track for a weekly loss of 2.9 percent.
Revenues in the first six months of the year rose 5.6% to 3.21bn euros (£2.9bn), helped by June's hot weather, and operating profits jumped almost 21% to 266.4m euros. Natural gas was also flat at $2.98 per 1,000 cubic feet.
The price of gold also surged for the second day in a row as the December bullion contract advanced US$10.80 to US$1,290.10 an ounce. Copper fell 2 cents to $2.93 a pound.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 109.87 yen from 110.48 yen late Tuesday. The euro slid to $1.1742 from $1.1752.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region saw further downside during trading on Thursday. On the Nasdaq, 1,846 issues fell and 953 advanced favoring decliners.
Barrick Gold Corp rose 2.1 percent to C$21.7, while Goldcorp Inc rose 0.9 percent to C$16.29.