N. Korea nerves push stocks down for third day

The Swiss franc ceded some ground after soaring in the Wednesday session, with the greenback last standing at 0.9637 Swiss francs after fetching as little as 0.9629 overnight.

The RBNZ kept interest rates unchanged at a record low of 1.75 percent on Thursday.

Trump warned North Korea again on Thursday not to strike Guam or US allies, saying his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on Pyongyang if it launched an attack may not have been tough enough.

The Japanese Yen saw broad gains in the wake of the rhetoric bandied about by the leaders of the USA and North Korea.

The Swiss franc, the other traditional currency safety-play, has benefited too. Futures augured a weak start on Wall Street. This week has been its biggest rise since June 2016. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.5 basis points at 2.226%.

Simmering tensions between the US and North Korea continued to rattle investors, driving the VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect, to its highest level since May.

On Thursday, New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said he expects sluggish US inflation to rise over the next several months while the hot labor market gets even hotter.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange's Volatility Index, considered one of the best gauges of fear in the market, hit its highest level since May on Thursday. The euro zone's version is at its highest since April, when France's election was rattling the region.

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The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 8 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,466 as of 2:45 p.m.

After North Korea hinted at developing a plan to attack Guam, a U.S. Pacific territory, President Trump fired back by stating that his warning to bring "fire and fury" on North Korea may not have been tough enough.

North Korea and the United States have traded bellicose rhetoric after the United Nations Security Council further tightened sanctions on North Korea for its two tests last month of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

South Korea's Kospi fell 0.2 percent. "Pretty remarkable, perhaps even extraordinary, considering", said fund manager BlueBay strategist Tim Ash. The Dow slid 33.08 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,085.34.

Wider Asian markets down: Japan's Nikkei stock index closed down 1.33%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng index is down 0.35%, and China's Shanghai Composite is down 0.28%.

Pyongyang responded with threats to launch preemptive military strikes against the US, including targeting the Pacific island territory of Guam. The price of gold rose 1.2 percent and the Swiss franc had its best day in almost three years. It was up about 2 percent for the week so far.

The U.S. weekly crude inventories report is set to be released at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Dai-ichi Life Holdings dropped 1 percent, T&D Holdings fell 2.2 percent while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group declined 0.9 percent. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals led the pack, adding $4.47, or 1 percent, to $474.15.

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