Geopolitical Concerns Lead To Sell-Off On Wall Street

Adding to the modest losses posted in the two previous sessions, stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading day on Thursday. With the sell-off on the day, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 fell to their lowest closing levels in a month.

The major averages ended the session just off their worst levels of the day. The Dow slumped 204.69 points or 0.9 percent to 21,844.01, the Nasdaq plummeted 135.46 points or 2.1 percent to 6,216.87 and the S&P 500 tumbled 35.81 points or 1.5 percent to 2,438.21.

Geopolitical concerns continued to weigh on Wall Street amid an ongoing escalation in tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

A statement from the North Korean military called President Donald Trump’s warning that the communist nation would face “fire and fury” if it continued its provocations a “load of nonsense.”

North Korea claimed “only absolute force” can work on someone as “bereft of reason” as Trump and detailed plans to fire a salvo of missiles into waters around the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

Trump further ratcheted up the rhetoric in remarks this afternoon, suggesting that his “fire and fury” comments may not have been tough enough.

“They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and it’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries,” Trump said.

He added, “I will tell you this, North Korea better get their act together or they’re going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world.”

The focus on North Korea largely overshadowed a Labor Department report showing an unexpected drop in U.S. producer prices in the month of July.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand edged down by 0.1 percent in July after inching up by 0.1 percent in June. Economists had expected another 0.1 percent uptick.

Excluding food and energy prices, core producer prices still dipped by 0.1 percent in July after creeping up by 0.1 percent in June. Core prices had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed an unexpected uptick in initial jobless claims in the week ended August 5th.

The report said initial jobless claims crept up to 244,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 241,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to come in unchanged compared to the 240,000 originally reported for the previous week.

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