The data comes amid tepid inflation that has remained below the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target, despite low unemployment.
Macy's shares closed down 10.2 percent and Kohl's 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.
Dow e-minis were down 24 points, or 0.11 percent, with 22,166 contracts changing hands.
The Japanese yen hit an eight-week high against the U.S. dollar, while spot gold also reached a two-month high.
Many world stock markets have hit record or multi-year highs in recent weeks, leaving them vulnerable to a sell-off, and the tensions have proved the trigger.
In currencies, the yen strengthened 0.64 per cent versus the greenback at 109.37 per dollar.
NCP skips opposition meet chaired by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi
Apart from NCP, M Jose of Kerala Congress (Mani) excused himself from the meeting as he had a party programme on Friday. The parties chose to take up the issues of farmers, Dalits, minorities and other marginalised groups during the period.
Trump was responding to North Korea's claim it was completing plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.
Weakness in U.S. Treasury yields may also be supporting the yen, Sweeting said.
"U.S. markets had previously been becalmed amidst the Goldilocks scenario of strong profit growth, low interest rates and full valuations".
"Of course it's all come at a time when share markets are due for a correction, so North Korea has provided a flawless trigger", he added. The Nikkei finished down 0.1% at 19729.74 points.
For now, the dollar remains on the back foot, pulling back 0.1% to 0.9635 Swiss francs today, after dropping as much as 1.2% to a two-week low overnight. Earlier in the session, it marked its highest since June 8 at $1,288.92 an ounce. Mainland China stock prices were lower.
All three United States indices fell sharply, with the broad-based S&P 500 tumbling 1.5 percent.
Trump opens door to investigating China's "theft" of USA intellectual property
Trump has been trying for months to get China to exert more pressure on North Korea, but has recently expressed frustration with the lack of progress.
In commodities trading, crude was down after an OPEC report showed production by cartel members increased slightly in July, including by Saudi Arabia which had championed efforts to extend an output freeze. Brent crude was up 80 cents at $53.50 a barrel and USA crude was up 60 cents and back up to $50.
The CBA fell 1 per cent to $80.22. It now expects growth of 1.37 million barrels a day in 2017. "North Korea responding with a threat to USA territory after Trump warned them not to threaten the US was never going to go down well", Lawler said.
Bitcoin and other "cryptocurrencies" are big money, virtually as big as Goldman Sachs and Royal Bank of Scotland combined.
Selling was broad. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE 6-to-1; on Nasdaq, a 3.60-to-1 ratio favored decliners. "Now some investors fear a giant crypto-bubble may be about to burst". Stocks took a hit for a third straight day Thursday as North Korea's nuclear threats seemed again to roil the markets. Had the auditor refused to approve the earnings, the company could have faced delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange pending the bourse's review.
KCNA said on Wednesday a mass rally was held in Pyongyang to support the government.
Elon Musk's AI Just "Wiped Out" World's Best DOTA 2 Players
In the second match, the player surrendered themselves, and the third time refused to play by asking "complete mockery" of it. This year's big Dota 2 tournament is now in its second to last day with only four teams remaining in competition.
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