Tensions spiked yet further when North Korean state media later said Pyongyang was considering strikes near U.S. military installations in Guam.
The Swiss franc gave up some gains (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/swiss-franc-gives-up-some-gains-as-investors-monitor-us-north-korea-standoff-2017-08-10), as the USA dollar was flat across the board.
U.S. President Donald Trump's warning North Korea faced "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States and Pyongyang's response that it was considering a missile strike have sent investors scurrying out of stock markets and the dollar and into perceived safe havens such as the yen, the Swiss franc, government debt and gold.
Markets saw a tentative recovery in risk appetite in overnight US and early Asian trading, but anxiety mounted again as Asian stocks fell back and London, Frankfurt and Paris dropped 0.5-1.2 percent in Europe. Wall Street was poised for a soft opening with S&P futures and Dow futures both down 0.2 percent.
Media giant CBS rose 1.8 percent after reporting better-than-expected second-quarter earnings as it boosted subscriptions to the network's streaming services.
Ten out of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors ended lower after the comments with the only gains seen in the utilities sector .SPLRCU , which is seen as a bond proxy because of its slow but predictable growth and dividends.
Trump condemns hatred "on many sides" in white nationalist protest
Among the white supremacists at Saturday's rally were alt-right leader Richard Spencer and former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke. Mimi Arbeit, an organizer of the counter-protests, however, rejected Kessler's claim that the rally was about freedom of speech.
"The market had been complacent for a while regarding headlines from North Korea".
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 109.05 yen from 109.20 while the euro weakened to $1.1763 from $1.1773. Japan is the world's biggest creditor country and there is an assumption investors there will repatriate funds in a crisis. The euro slid to $1.1752 from $1.1793. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.2 percent. China's yuan firmed 0.3 percent against the dollar in a third straight day of gains to hit its firmest level in 10-months on the back of a stronger fixing and continued corporate dollar selling, while data shows inflation holding steady. U.S. Treasury yields fell in Asian time and the 10-year benchmark yield is down 2.7 basis points at 2.26 percent. It has weakened 1.5 percent since hitting a 2-1/2 year high of 1.1910 on August 2.
Geopolitical concerns continue to weigh on Wall Street amid an ongoing escalation in tensions between the USA and North Korea.
The Australian dollar, which rose to a 19-month high near 90.00 yen late in July, was down 0.6 percent at 86.77 yen after slipping to a one-month low of 86.23 yen. TMX Group Ltd was up 3.2 percent to C$68.02, while Quebecor Inc added 4.3 percent to C$45.20 and Canadian Tire Corp Ltd climbed 5.7 percent to C$149.89. US gold futures gained 1.27 percent to $1,278.60 an ounce.
Prices did recover during early European trading, however, as Brent crude was last up 0.48% at $52.39 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate 0.49% higher at $49.41.
The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index plummeted 135.46 points, or 2.1%, to close at 6,216.87.