Stocks are seeing modest weakness in mid-day trading on Friday after showing a lack of direction earlier in the session. Selling pressure has remained subdued, however, limiting the downside for the major averages.
Currently, the major averages are lingering in negative territory. The Dow is down 29.95 points or 0.1 percent at 22,329.28, the Nasdaq is down 8.59 points or 0.1 percent at 6,414.11 and the S&P 500 is down 1.74 points or 0.1 percent at 2,498.86.
The weakness on Wall Street reflects geopolitical concerns amid an escalating war of words between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.
In a statement circulated by state news agency KCNA, Kim described Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea as “mentally deranged behavior.”
Kim also called Trump’s remarks “rude nonsense” and claimed he was not frightened by the president’s threat.
“I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue,” Kim said.
“Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation,” he added. “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”
Trump responded to Kim’s statement with a post on Twitter on Friday, calling the North Korean dictator a “madman.”
“Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!” Trump tweeted.
The back-and-forth between Trump and Kim comes as North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho has said his country may consider testing a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.
Nonetheless, overall trading activity has been somewhat subdued amid a relatively quiet day on the U.S. economic front.
Despite the modest weakness being shown by the broader markets, oil service stocks have shown a strong move to the upside on the day. Reflecting the strength in the sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 1.2 percent.
The strength among oil service stocks comes amid a modest increase by the price of crude oil, with crude for November delivery edging up $0.11 to $50.66 a barrel.
Notable strength is also visible among electronic storage stocks, as reflected by the 1.1 percent advance by the NYSE Arca Disk Drive Index. Quantum (QTM) and Seagate Technology (STX) are turning in two of the sector’s best performances.
Gold stocks are also rebounding along with the price of the precious metal, while biotechnology and steel stocks are…