The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 43 points, or 0.2%, to 21,885, led by Apple Inc.
The Nasdaq Composite Index plunged 2.1% to 6216.87 and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 1.45% to 2438.21. "This is a normal fluctuation, it just seems so odd because we have hardly had any volatility", said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group in Minneapolis. "And while risks remain elevated from a geopolitical perspective, valuations are not necessarily excessive, though full". "I think a few investors are capitulating to it". Is that a reason to be?
Cracks are showing in what has been a virtually non-stop US equity rally after a rapid escalation of tension between North Korea and the United States this week.
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 consumer discretionary index was one of its biggest losers with a 0.47 per cent drop. Both the Nasdaq and the Russell are set for their third straight weekly decline.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region saw continued weakness during trading on Friday.
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President Trump tweeted earlier this week. "It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before", he wrote on Twitter . The number of USA deployed strategic warheads has decreased since September 1, 2016.
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Finally, Gulf International Bank UK Ltd raised its position in shares of Essex Property Trust by 1.5% in the first quarter. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 45,096 shares of the company's stock, valued at $11,903,991.12.
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The headlines about North Korea served as a spark to jolt investors out of complacency on the heels of an extended period of calm in the market, said McClellan who shared the following chart in a report.
On average, the S&P 500 falls 5% or more every 10 weeks and the index falls 10% every 33 weeks, according to data analyzed by AllianceBernstein going back to 1928.
Outside the political arena, declines in a pair of technology stocks added to the cautious tone on the day. On Thursday, fellow newly public company Blue Apron Holdings lost 18% after the meal-kit maker reported rising costs amid increased competition. The stock has more than doubled over the past 12 months, gaining more than 160%.
If the North Korean regime "does anything" to the USA or a United States ally "things will happen to them like they never thought possible", he told reporters on Thursday, according to Bloomberg. Shares of J.C. Penney dropped 78 cents, or 17%, to $3.93 Friday after the department store's second-quarter loss exceeded expectations.
Other markets: Oil turned lower after the International Energy Agency said oil supply rose for a third month as compliance with an OPEC output deal faltered but prices have rebounded (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-head-lower-as-global-tensions-continue-unabated-2017-08-11) to edge up. The precious metal is often seen as a safe haven for investors during times of uncertainty.