Stocks level out after North Korea-fueled slide

A man watches a television screen showing U.S. President Donald Trump left and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Train Station on Thursday

US stocks rose Friday but still notched their biggest weekly loss in months, as investors were shaken by disappointing earnings results and an escalation of threats between the USA and North Korea. The Nasdaq composite lost 96 points, or 1.5 percent, to 6,256.

At 10:57 a.m. ET (1457 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 54.38 points, or 0.25 percent, at 21,898.39, the S&P 500 was up 8.69 points, or 0.35 percent, at 2,446.90.

Selling was broad. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE 6-to-1; on Nasdaq, a 3.60-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

Macy's (M.N) shares closed down 10.2 percent and Kohl's (KSS.N) 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.

USA stocks have been in retreat since President Donald Trump Tuesday issued a fiery warning to North Korea to halt its nuclear program.

The technology sector was the S&P's biggest drag with a 2.2 percent drop.

On the USA economic front, a report released by the Labor Department showed a modest uptick in consumer prices in the U.S.in the month of July.

Stocks are falling in midday trading on Wall Street, led by declines in technology companies and banks.

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.

Gold prices posted strong weekly gains (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-heads-for-strong-weekly-gain-as-stock-market-exit-persists-2017-08-11) thanks to safe-haven demand.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. backtracked 2.79 percent to 2,231,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. was down 4.66 percent to 61,400 won. Kohl's like Macy's did beat estimates for earnings and revenues while Dillards delivered a loss of 58 cents per share as a result of deep discounting to shed inventory. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.21 percent from 2.25 percent late Wednesday.

On the currency front, the USA dollar is trading at 108.82 yen compared to the 109.20 yen it fetched at the close of NY trading on Thursday. Its rouble-based peer MICEX shed 1.2 percent to 1,937 points, its lowest since August 1. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.826 compared to yesterday's $1.1772.

Some still believe that market impact from North Korea's provocation is likely to be muted as MSCI Asia ex-Japan Index tests a trend line supporting the benchmark since its low in December. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down almost 0.1 percent.

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