Guam's Department of Homeland Security and Office of Civil Defense say they are monitoring North Korea with USA military and government officials. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, gained 10 cents to $52.24 in London.
The Nasdaq composite lost 13.31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,370.46.
A man looks at a stock quotation board flashing the Nikkei 225 key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in front of a securities company in Tokyo.
On Thursday, New York Fed President William Dudley said he expects sluggish USA inflation to rise over the next several months while the hot labor market gets even hotter.
U.S. ECONOMY: Employers posted a record number of open jobs in June while a survey of small businesses showed optimism improving. The risk-off tone triggered by the increase in tension between the USA and North Korea yesterday picked back up during today's United States session.
TECH SLIDE: Losses among technology stocks led the market slide.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 35.81 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,438.21.
FINANCIALS FALLING: Several financial sector companies also helped pull down the market. Netflix also fell, giving up $2.58, or 1.4 percent, to $175.78.
RETAIL SLUMP: Disappointing quarterly results from big department store chains put investors in a selling mood. Small-company stocks fell more than the rest of the market. Its shares tumbled $10.14 to $63.20. The stock fell 76 cents to $5.48.
Data showed US producer prices unexpectedly fell in July, recording their biggest drop in almost a year, while another set showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week.
In commodities trading, United States crude oil was wallowing around $49 to the barrel amid speculation that a predicted gain in American output will offset OPEC-led efforts to trim a global glut. Brent crude dipped 0.05 percent to $52.68 a barrel.
CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 109.77 yen from Tuesday's 110.34. The euro rose to $1.1774 from $1.1752. "U.S. equities managed to cut its losses towards yesterday's close and while the VIX (volatility index) did pop higher, it still remains at an overall low level". December Comex gold settled the day up 1% at $1,279.30 an ounce while September Comex silver settled at $16.863 an ounce, up more than 2% on the day. With a risk-off attitude gripping global markets, France's CAC 40 has slipped 1.7%, the German DAX is down 1.5%, and London's FTSE 100 is 0.8% lower.
Asian shares were slightly higher on Wednesday, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan.MIAPJ0000PUS up 0.1 percent in early trading. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.2 percent. Economists had expected another 0.1 percent uptick.