United States stocks close slightly lower, trimming earlier losses

A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan New York City

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The lower close by the major averages came after remarks by President Donald Trump added to concerns about rising tensions between the USA and North Korea. The Dow Jones industrials average gained 14.31 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,858.32.

At 10:34 a.m. ET (1434 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index fell 70.95 points, or 0.47 percent, to 15,146.38.

Rising costs for housing, medical care and food helped push the Consumer Price Index (CPI) up 0.1 percent in July, seasonally adjusted, after no change in June and a 0.1 decrease in May, the US Labor Department said.

Just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump told North Korea that any threat to the United States would be met with "fire and fury", a spokesman for the Korean People's Army said in a statement carried by the North's state-run KCNA news agency that it was considering a strike aimed at U.S. military bases on Guam.

Nevsun Resources Ltd offset some of the material group's gains, plunging 18.4 percent to C$2.685 after the company reported disappointing quarterly results. Only 3 of the 30 stocks in the Dow finished the day with a gain: IBM, Coca-Cola and McDonald's.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 2.254 percent from its U.S. close of 2.282 percent on Tuesday.

"We believe continued sabre-rattling between the two nuclear powers could take gold prices higher still".

In Asia, several indexes closed lower overnight. Apple was down 2.3 percent, weighing most on the index. But the market quickly bounced back, led by numerous tech stocks that were sinking on Thursday.

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Investors retreated from several of this year's top performers on Thursday, including shares of large USA technology companies and biotechnology firms, while lifting shares of utilities companies - often thought of as bond proxies due to their relatively hefty dividends.

South Korea's Kospi slid 0.44%, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.08% and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.41%. "I would expect the markets to react again pretty negatively to any more tough talk from either side, but for now, everybody seems to have settled down, and we'll see what happens".

Gold rose 0.6 per cent to US$1,268 an ounce.

On Thursday, New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said he expects sluggish US inflation to rise over the next several months while the hot labor market gets even hotter. However, the 4-week average figure dropped by 1,000 to 241,000. Brent crude, the global standard, lost 23 cents to $52.14 a barrel in London.

Telecom, chemical, and brokerage stocks also saw notable weakness, while most of the other major sectors showed more modest moves. Natural gas was also flat at $2.98 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped 0.47% while mainland markets traded marginally higher. Kohl's fell $2.43, or 5.8%, to $39.50.

Instead, the Japanese yen is now picking up steam against the USD, trading under ¥110 to the dollar for the first time since June. The euro edged down to $1.1726 from $1.1751.

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