Macy's has been cutting costs and closing stores.
Aug 10 (Reuters) - U.S. indexes were trading at session lows on Thursday afternoon, with the Dow and the Nasdaq posting triple-digit point declines, as investors fretted over escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.
"When investors are optimistic to the extreme, it means that most of their money is already in the market and there's no more money coming in", Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W. Baird & Co in Sarasota, Florida.
Technology companies, which have been the biggest gainers this year as the market hit a succession of record highs, led the broad slide.
Markets in Italy, France and Germany also saw declines. Utilities eked out a small gain.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 1.06 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.17 percent. But for the week the S&P 500 lost 1.3 percent, its worst weekly showing since March.
In bond markets, the yield in U.S. Treasuries fell, also pressured by the lowered expectations for a Fed move. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman all rose and the Dow Jones US defense index was up 1.6% after hitting a record high. All the indexes are down for the week.
"If you strip away what's going on in North Korea, and if you strip away what's going on in Washington, which are things that are tougher to predict, the economy, the global recovery, earnings, it all paints a very positive picture for the rest of the year", Kravetz said. Bond and gold prices, traditional havens for nervous investors, were little changed, and the VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, fell 3.3 percent following a 44.4 percent jump the day before. That's the biggest increase since May.
"There is a low probability that we will have a war with North Korea", he said, and a larger pullback in stocks is "a buyable drop". "I don't see it as a fear-driven sell-off".
The Korean won also continued to fall, down 0.45 percent to 1,147.2.
GOT A PULSE: Health care stocks, which have been in a slump, were headed higher.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 24 cents to $48.37 per barrel on the on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, used to price global oils, declined 20 cents to $51.70 per barrel in London. MetLife fell $1.38, or 2.9 percent, to $46.93, while Synchrony Financial slid $1.01, or 3.3 percent, to $29.24.
Disappointing quarterly results from big department store chains also weighed down the market.
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. The stock lost $2.46 to $9.38. Its shares slid $11.64 to $61.70.
Options traders gear up for Snap's second earnings report as a public company. The trend appeared to overshadow strong quarterly revenue growth in the quarter. The stock fell $2.04 to $20.99. Silver gained 1 cent to $17.07 an ounce. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, slid 80 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $51.90. The consumer discretionary index plunged 0.47%. December-dated gold futures finished the day up 1.3%, or $16.70 at $1,279.30 per ounce. On the Nasdaq, 2,303 issues fell and 567 advanced.
The dollar slipped to 109.04 yen from 109.26 late Thursday. The euro fell to $1.1749 from $1.1752. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 1.1 percent. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.3 percent, while Seoul's Kospi fell 1.1 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.2 percent.