US indexes opened lower for the third straight day on Thursday as North Korea's threat to land a missile just short of the USA territory of Guam added fuel to simmering tensions with the United States.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.9% to end at 21,844.01, the only close below 22,000 since breaking through that level for the first time August 2.
Euro zone stocks and blue-chips .STOXX50E also dropped 0.9 percent, while the miner-heavy FTSE .FTSE fell 1.1 percent. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 40.64 points, or 0.64 percent, to 6,311.70.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the day with a decline of 1 percent from the previous close.
"The war of words taking place between the U.S. and North Korea at the moment, which includes very real threats of action, is taking its toll on investor sentiment".
The decline was broad, with all the 11 major S&P indexes lower.
The Russian dollar-traded index RTS was down 1.49 percent, and ruble-traded MICEX fell 1.29 percent by midday. Should they start re-allocating, we believe a big move in global gold prices will inevitably ensue.
After touching a more than two-month high at US$1,291.86, spot gold last added 0.2 per cent to US$1,288.81 an ounce.
"Of course it's all come at a time when share markets are due for a correction, so North Korea has provided a ideal trigger", he added.
Snap's earnings missed forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/snap-ceos-promise-cant-overcome-declining-ad-rates-stock-heads-toward-new-lows-after-earnings-2017-08-10) Thursday, and the social-messaging company disclosed that average ad prices fell in the second quarter.
Nevsun Resources Ltd offset some of the material group's gains, plunging 18.4 percent to C$2.685 after the company reported disappointing quarterly results.
Mike van Dulken at Accendo Markets said: "Equities remain under pressure from geopolitical tensions - albeit calmer - but are also being impacted by ex-dividends and macro data".
USA stocks were on track for their biggest weekly loss in months, shaken by disappointing earnings results and an escalation of threats between the US and North Korea.
The pound was up 0.3% against the euro at 1.1091 and down nearly 0.1% on the dollar at 1.2994.
Crude oil was 0.5 percent higher with prices at $49 per barrel. On the Nasdaq, 1,846 issues fell and 953 advanced favoring decliners.
Wilmar International slipped 6.4 per cent or 22 cents to $3.20; Hongkong Land lost 2.1 per cent or 16 United States cents to US$7.34.
Ongoing global glut concerns lingered in oil markets despite a bigger-than-expected draw in USA crude inventories, leaving prices volatile.