Keeping up his tough talk, U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's government should "get their act together" or face the consequences, and suggested that his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea was too mild.
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 percent to C$24.43, its largest drop since early August past year.
"Since these are the stocks that have been in the spotlight the most, they tend to have the most volatility upwards and downwards", said Chris Bertelsen, chief investment officer of Aviance Capital Management in Sarasota, Florida.
At 10:57 a.m. ET (1457 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 54.38 points, or 0.25 percent, at 21,898.39, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 8.69 points, or 0.35 percent, at 2,446.90. It has fallen more than 1 percent on only three days this year.
Safe-haven assets gained following the rising geopolitical tensions. It also hit its highest level since May.
On Thursday, the CBOE Volatility Index, a barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, closed at its highest since the US presidential election.
The last time the S&P 500 fell over 1 per cent was on May. 17.
Kisner, Matsuyama share lead at Quail Hollow
Rickie Fowler had six birdies, the kind of round that would put him in the lead - except for that triple bogey on the sixth hole. Unless he comes up with a colossal rally, Tiger Woods will remain the youngest player to complete the career Grand Slam.
U.S. urges Iraq Kurdish leader to postpone independence vote
In 2005, Iraq's Constitution recognized Kurdistan as an autonomous region, run by the Kurdistan Regional Government. Barzani's father led struggles against Baghdad in the 1960s and 1970s.
Guam: A tiny territory caught in a global war of words
Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage was legal throughout the U.S., including all its territories. Spain's colonial rule continued until the US took control in 1898 during the Spanish-American War.
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.
Retailers were all under pressure after Macy's and Kohl's each reported lower second-quarter sales, reviving worries about consumer discretionary stocks.
South Korea's benchmark Kospi index lost 1.1 per cent. "Risk aversion is still very much a concern for markets", said Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist, at Scotiabank in Toronto. Since the beginning of 2017, the barometer index of the S&P 500 had only two sessions of declines of 1 % or more.
Economic data showed USA producer prices unexpectedly fell in July, recording their biggest drop in almost a year, while separate figures showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week.
Still, the S&P and the Dow were on track to post their biggest weekly loss in about five months and the Nasdaq on course to post its biggest weekly fall in about six weeks. -North Korea tensions and the weak data that further reduced expectations of an interest rate hike in December. Copper rose 4 cents to $2.94 a pound.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 24 cents to $48.37 per barrel on the on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, used to price global oils, declined 20 cents to $51.70 per barrel in London.
Spot gold added 0.7 per cent to $1,285.70 an ounce.