Economy

Korean shares end lower on foreign selling amid tensions over N. Korea

Korean shares end lower on foreign selling amid tensions over N. Korea

The price of gold, a safe-haven asset, hit its highest levels in two months as North Korea and the United States exchanged more threats, with North Korea outlining detailed plans for a missile strike near the Pacific territory of Guam.

Tillerson's tone was in sharp contrast to that of USA president Donald Trump, who warned on Tuesday any North Korean threat to the U.S. would be met with "fire and fury".

"The overall "Fear Factor" is the markets worst enemy that will feed on itself, leading to increased hedging".

While gold, a safe-haven favorite, pared some gains it was last up 1.2 percent at around its highest since mid-June, while the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen also rose.

At 12:36 p.m. ET (1636 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 158.98 points, or 0.72 percent, at 21,889.72 and the S&P 500 was down 27.37 points, or 1.11 percent, at 2,446.65.

The CBOE Volatility Index .VIX , a barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, closed at its highest since the USA presidential election on Thursday, but was down 1.22 points at 14.82 points on Friday.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 34.61 points, or 0.56 percent, at 6,251.48. The S&P 500 is up 9 percent, while the Dow is up 10.6 percent. The consumer discretionary index was one of its biggest losers with a 0.47 percent drop.

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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.

Shares of Kohl's were down 8.4%, while Macy's fell 4% after the department store operators reported a fall in sales. Wall Street was expecting more inflation.

THE QUOTE: "Inflation - or lack of -- has been an ongoing problem for the central bank and some policy makers have voiced concerns about this in recent months as they consider whether to raise interest rates again this year", said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

"But now we're seeing increasing rather than diminishing tensions", he said.

J.C. Penney slumped as much as 18.25 percent to a record low after the retailer reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.

Perrigo surged 17.6 percent after the drugmaker raised its full-year adjusted profit forecast.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,432 to 1,310. Netflix also fell, giving up $3.37, or 1.9 percent, to $174.99.

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