Wall Street lower on US-North Korea tensions

NYSE tradersImage copyright
Reuters

US stocks saw their largest losses since May on Thursday, as tensions mounted between North Korea and the US.

Pyongyang, which has threatened to fire missiles toward the US Pacific island territory of Guam, gave more details of its plans.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump intensified his rhetoric, saying North Korea should be “very, very nervous” if it does anything to the US.

The Dow Jones fell 0.9% to 21,844.01 and S&P 500 fell 1.5% to 2,438.21.

The Nasdaq lost 2.1% to 6,216.87.

‘Easily overshadowed’

Mr Trump earlier this week said North Korea would be met with “fire and fury” if it continued to threaten the US.

Some criticised the comments for being too provocative, however on Thursday he told reporters: “Maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough.”

Richard C Marston, of the Wharton School of finance, told the BBC: “If the North Korean situation worsens… I would expect the stock market to react negatively.

“Corporate earnings can be easily overshadowed if there is a real threat of a conflict.”

Markets had been bracing for a correction after weeks of record highs. The sell-off was widespread, with shares in financial and consumer companies leading the declines.

Two big retailers saw their shares fall rapidly after they announced results this morning.

Macy’s has been cutting costs and closing stores. It saw a surprising rise in its profits, but its shares dived 10%.

Its big rival Kohl’s said sales in its stores that had been open more than a year had fallen, and its shares were down 5.8%.