Stocks Close Mostly Lower Amid Geopolitical Concerns

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Wall Street saw a stock sell-off on Thursday as rising tensions between the USA and North Korea filled investors with worry. They outweighed gains in health care stocks and elsewhere.

The rhetoric between the United States and North Korea has continued to heat up, leading traders to look to safe havens such as gold and treasuries.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 8 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,466 as of 2:45 p.m. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 36.64 points to close at 22,048.70, with Walt Disney contributing the most losses.

Stocks slide at the open as continuing tensions between the USA and North Korea weigh on investor sentiment; Dow -0.5%, S&P -0.6%, Nasdaq -0.8%.

Across Europe, Gemany's Dax was off 1.2% and the Cac 40 in France dropped by 0.6%.

Trump's top security adviser H.R. McMaster earlier told MSNBC that the USA is preparing for a "preventive war" with North Korea among other options on the table to deal with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threats. Pyongyang said it was examining plans for attacking Guam, a USA territory in the Pacific with a military base.

The reclusive state raised the stakes further on Thursday with a detailed plan to send a salvo of missiles towards the USA territory of Guam.

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House of Representatives, said Trump's threat to North Korea "is reckless and shows a serious lack of judgment". Trump on Tuesday threatened " fire and fury " if North Korea made more threats to the U.S.

"It remains possible that we will see another brief lurch downwards, particularly in the technology sector that seems to be the locus of hedging activity, but the chances of this developing into a meaningful correction still looks remote at the current time", Shaoul said. "I have a feeling that by the end of the week, we'll feel this was just another blip on the radar".

Separately, US producer prices unexpectedly fell in July, recording their biggest drop in almost a year, weighed down by declining costs for services and energy products.

While stocks have declined this week, the sell-off has not been dramatic.

MOUSE HOUSE: Disney dropped 4.9 percent a day after the media giant reported a weak quarter and said it would pull its movies from Netflix and start two of its own video streaming services.

On the other hand, gold stocks showed a strong move to the upside on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 1.7%. A gauge of mining shares sank 2.6 percent, with shares of Rio Tinto Group and Glencore Plc among the biggest decliners amid drops in iron ore and steel prices. Rival Advanced Micro Devices was also down 2.6 percent. Viacom slid 93 cents, or 3 percent, to $29.84.

However, bank stocks, including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, were down about 1 percent on the dimming prospects of another rate hike this year.