Investors flocked to gold Wednesday against the backdrop of rising tensions between the USA and North Korea, offsetting some of the broad-based declines on the commodity-heavy Toronto stock index. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.2 percent, to 2,474.92. He also said the nuclear-armed nation should be "very, very nervous" if it even thinks about attacking the United States or its allies.
Traders' screens were awash with red in Asia and Europe as investors fled to safe haven assets after US President Donald Trump doubled down on his North Korea rhetoric. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 13.20 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,396.95. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was off 0.3 percent.
Separate ONS data showed that a pick-up in Britain's industrial output in June was marred by a slump in vehicle production, while construction output also fell.
Trump's top security adviser H.R. McMaster earlier told MSNBC that the USA is preparing for a "preventive war" with North Korea among other options on the table to deal with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threats.
"If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so", the editorial's authors said. The Nasdaq composite lagged, falling 0.28% to 6,352.33.
The last time the S&P closed down more than 1 percent was May 17 when it fell 1.8 percent. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.23 percent from 2.26 percent late Tuesday.
Macy's was down 9.7 percent after the company said its sales continued to decline in the second quarter. Pyongyang said it was examining plans for attacking Guam, a US territory in the Pacific that has a USA military base.
Charter Communications rose 2.9 percent on news Altice is exploring a bid for the cable giant.
Nvidia's quarterly revenue in its data center and automotive businesses missed estimates, dragging the chipmaker's shares down 8.6 percent. The euro held steady at $1.1752. Silver gained 47 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $16.86 an ounce. Brent crude, used to price global oils, gained 56 cents to $52.70 in London.
In oil, the price of Brent crude sunk by 0.5% to 51.65 U.S. dollars a barrel amid concerns about over supply in the market.
Elsewhere in commodities, the September crude contract was up 39 cents to US$49.56 per barrel, September natural gas advanced six cents at US$2.88 per mmBTU and the September copper contract declined two cents at US$2.93 a pound.
In oil, Brent crude was dragged 0.5% lower at 52.46 U.S. dollars a barrel despite Opec forecasting increased demand for oil next year.