The CBOE Volatility Index, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, was at its highest in more than a month.
The Vix, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, jumped to its highest level since May after North Korea indicated a plan to launch ballistic missiles toward a major USA military hub in the Pacific.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average hastened its decline Thursday, as selling pressure gripped the equities market amid lingering concern over North Korea.
Macy's shares closed down 10.2 percent and Kohl's fell nearly 6 percent as the companies continued to report a drop in quarterly same-store sales, stoking concerns that their turnarounds may still be a long way off.
Government bonds rose, with the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note falling to 2.211%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.246% on Wednesday.
All 11 major S&P sectors were lower and the consumer discretionary index was the biggest loser with a 1 percent drop.
North Korea said it was considering plans to fire missiles at Guam, a US-held Pacific island, after President Trump's Tuesday warning.
Contaminated eggs scandal hit 15 European Union states, besides Switzerland, Hong Kong: EC
France's agriculture minister says tests on imported eggs contaminated with pesticide show no risk to public health. Contamination hasn't been confirmed but they came from farms where contaminated eggs were found.
Pilot ejects, escapes injury as US fighter jet crash lands in Bahrain
Cmdr Urban said naval officials had begun an investigation into the crash and were trying to help the airport resume operations. Bahrain's state-run BNA news agency reported that the runway closed to all flights for two hours on Saturday afternoon.
Usain Bolt Pulls Up In Final Race Of His Career
Rico Freimuth took silver with 8,564 points, while German teammate Kai Kazmirek was third with 8,488. The women came second in their heat with a season's best time of 3:24.74, behind the United States .
After a dip of as much as 0.52 percent earlier in the day, investors appeared to take some comfort in Tillerson's comments, said Richard Steinberg, managing director at HighTower Advisors in NY.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 14 points, a gain of 0.07 percent, the Nasdaq composite rose almost 40 points or 0.64 percent and the S&P 500 gained 3 points or 0.13 percent.
Overall, stocks have been on a tear this year, with the Dow, S&P and the Nasdaq composite all hitting record highs and surging more than 10 percent.
Michael Kors climbed 21.5 percent after the luxury handbag and apparel designer and retailer's latest quarterly results beat analysts' forecasts as sales improved. Asian and European stocks continued the sharp decline Friday.
Stock movers: Shares of Snapchat parent Snap Inc.(SNAP) slid 14% in premarket trading.
On the economic front, data is expected to show that USA consumer prices likely rose in July after being unchanged the prior month. On the Nasdaq, 2,082 issues fell and 669 advanced. Copper rose 4 cents to $2.94 a pound. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1741 compared to yesterday's $1.1752.
Tech names led stocks lower Wednesday's open, with Walt Disney (DIS) dragging on the Dow and several China-based leaders mixed in early trade. Wholesale inventories are expected to climb by 0.6 percent.
Manufacturing production in June was flat, as predicted, after falling 0.1% in May, while United Kingdom construction output badly missed forecasts fell 0.1% month on month and rose 0.9% year-on-year. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.6 percent.