Simmering tensions with North Korea were also weighing on the market in early trading Thursday.
The top-flight also sank lower as a number of stocks went ex-dividend, a process where new buyers no longer qualify for the latest dividend payment.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 110.82 points to 21,937.88.
On the currency markets, sterling rose 0.2% to flit around the 1.30 United States dollar mark, with the greenback falling in response to the latest U.S. inflation data.
U.S. President Donald Trump, in his latest warning to North Korea, said military solutions were "fully in place" and referred to American weapons as being "locked and loaded" should the nuclear-armed nation act "unwisely".
"The high drama has prompted traders to take their cash out of stocks, and invest it in safer assets like gold".
Stocks are ending broadly lower on Wall Street, led by declines in technology companies and banks, two of the highest-performing sectors over the a year ago.
THE QUOTE: While the tough talk about the potential for war is scary, investors have heard it many times before. That is significant because yields fall when bond prices rise. The company booked a hefty charge and said its CFO is leaving the company.
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There could be added pressure today for Bowyer, who will be racing about 90 minutes from Ford's headquarters in nearby Dearborn. It's just the way that the race is going to work out, but if you are right there, it can happen anytime. "It feels bigger.
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Mahamudu Bawumia is still awaiting at the Tamale Airport to finally see the pilgrims off. Officials of the Hajj Board told Kasapa FM that Vice President Dr.
In Silicon Valley, Defense Secretary Promotes Diplomatic Solution To North Korea
Defense Secretary James Mattis said during a August 11 press conference that a war with North Korea would be "catastrophic". McMaster spoke on the phone for 40 minutes early on Friday, a spokesman for the presidential Blue House in Seoul said.
Materials, a sector that includes gold producers and other resource-based companies, was the lone gainer among the index's 10 main sectors, rising 0.7 per cent. Its decline of 2.6% since Monday's close was its biggest since the three days ended September 9.
IG's opening calls suggest that the FTSE 100 will start the day 0.45 percent lower at 7,509 points.
The major averages all closed in positive territory, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq outperformed its counterparts. Humana rose $4.74, or 1.9 percent, to $254.96.
In European markets, the French CAC 40 was down 0.7% and Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 1.2%.
Biotechnology stocks are turning in some of the market's worst performances in morning trading, resulting in a 1.6 percent drop by the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index.
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. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, gained 10 cents to $52.24 in London. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman all rose, with the Dow Jones US defense index up 1.48 percent at 409.58.
With Japanese markets closed for a public holiday, Hong Kong led the downward charge in Asia-Pacific as the Hang Seng lost more than two percent. The contract fell 97 cents, or 2 per cent, to close at $48.59 a barrel on Thursday.
Sterling was also down 0.1% versus the euro at 1.104.