Wall Street extends losses as geopolitical concerns weigh

Major equity indexes in the U.S. started the day under pressure as the escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States force investors to seek safe-haven assets such as the JPY and gold.

Commenting on the risk aversion, "when you have a market like we have had this year, and it has been amazingly calm, and you introduce a major source of uncertainty, there is bound to be some reaction," Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial, told Reuters. The CBOE Volatility Index .VIX, a popular gauge of stock market volatility, jumped to a near three-month high of 15.36 on Thursday.

Moreover, dismal earnings results from big retailers Macy's and Kohl's also weighed on the stock markets. As of writing, the S&P 500 was at 2,444.50, down 1.15%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 21,889,82, losing 0.72%, and the Nasdaq Composite was at 6,240.77, dropping 1.76%.


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