U.S. stocks close lower, snapping Dow's 10-day winning streak

President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington Wednesday Aug. 2 2017

Investors flocked to gold Wednesday against the backdrop of rising tensions between the US and North Korea, offsetting some of the broad-based declines on the commodity-heavy Toronto stock index.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback against the currencies of six major U.S. trading partners, was last 0.2% down on the day during afternoon European trading hours - it stood at 93.20.

The yen tends to benefit during times of geopolitical or financial stress as Japan is the world's biggest creditor nation and there is an assumption that Japanese investors there will repatriate funds should a crisis materialise.

"The latest threats over North Korea have finally escalated to the point where market has been obliged to react", Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, wrote in a note.

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.3 percent to 19,738.71 and Seoul's Kospi fell 1.1 percent to 2,368.39.

The S&P is trading near its most expensive valuation level since 2004, as measured by the price-to-12-month forward earnings ratio.

"The war of words between the leaders of the USA and North Korea continues to dominate investor sentiment", said Forex.com technical analyst Fawad Razaqzada. It comes as North Korea responded to President Donald Trump's warning, with the country saying it would consider hitting United States territory Guam with a missile strike.

Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management, said: "While the tough talk about the potential for war (between the U.S. and North Korea) is scary, investors have heard it many times before".

It is now on track for its biggest weekly drop since the week before the November 8 USA presidential election.

Losses in health care and consumer-focused companies pulled US stocks broadly lower Tuesday, snapping a 10-day winning streak for the Dow Jones industrial average.

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MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.5 percent in its third session of declines, with Australia down 1.4 percent.

The euro edged 0.3 per cent lower to 1.1726 against the dollar.

Dow e-minis were down 54 points, or 0.25 percent, with 25,272 contracts changing hands. The WSJ dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was flat.

U.S. equities had been on track for a 10th-straight record session Tuesday and the dollar was initially up after the JOLTS survey showed job openings hit a record in the USA last month.

Europe's main London, Frankfurt and Paris markets started between 0.5 and 1.1 per cent lower and Germany's ultra-safe 10-year government bonds were trading at their highest prices since June.

USA producer prices unexpectedly recorded their biggest drop in almost a year, and the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week.

Global benchmark Brent lost 0.7 percent to $51.53, after Thursday's 1.5 percent drop.

Markets are now focused on USA consumer price data for July, due later in the session. They were at 2.201 percent early on Friday.

The RBNZ kept interest rates unchanged at a record low of 1.75 percent on Thursday.

USA crude CLc1 was unchanged at $48.59 per barrel and Brent LCOc1 was last at $51.84, down 1.63 percent on the day.

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