Tech companies lead worst day for USA stock market since May

A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan New York City

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 4.19 points, or 0.18 percent, to 2,364.20 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The strength on Wall Street was partly due to bargain hunting, with traders picking up stocks at reduced levels following the pullback seen over the past few sessions. While the Nasdaq climbed 39.68 points or 0.6% to 6,256.56, the Dow inched up 14.31 points or 0.1% to 21,858.32 and the S&P 500 edged up 3.11 points or 0.1% to 2,441.32.

"The escalation of the geopolitical situation between the US and North Korea is beginning to rattle investors' nerves as was witnessed in the VIX index yesterday", said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial. North Korea responded with threats to launch missiles into the Pacific Ocean near Guam, a US territory.

United States president Donald Trump has thwarted the Dow Jones' nine-day winning streak with threats of "fire and fury" against North Korea as the Vix reaches a monthly high.

The influential financial stocks were among the biggest drags on the index, with Royal Bank of Canada down 1.5 percent to C$92.88, and Manulife Financial Corp falling 4.7 per cent to C$24.43, its largest drop since early August a year ago.

Meanwhile, market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. backtracked 0.65 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor was down 0.34 percent.

Safe-haven assets gained following the rising geopolitical tensions.

US crude oil futures settled almost 2 per cent lower at $48.59 a barrel, as Russian Federation considered a future output resumption and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries boosted its July production numbers.

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Major stock indexes overseas also racked up losses Thursday. Brent crude, used to price global oils, slid 80 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $51.90.

The U.S. equity market is hovering near record levels and volume has been tepid following the onset of summer.

Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with the technology's 0.36 percent rise leading the advancers.

Data showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but the underlying trend remained consistent with a tightening labor market. Copper fell 2 cents to $2.93 a pound.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.25 percent from 2.26 percent late Tuesday. The Russell 2000 index gave up 1.7 per cent to 1,372.54.

The dollar fell to 109.85 yen from 110.48 yen late Tuesday.

Shares of Snap were off about 13 percent premarket following the social media company's earnings that came below estimates and a slew of price target cuts.

Across Europe, the Cac 40 in France slid 1.1% while Germany's Dax was flat.

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