Despite the drop, analysts said the market seemed to be a bit sceptical that the North Korea situation would grow into a major crisis, noting that the losses were still not that deep.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 50 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,032. The Nasdaq composite fell 35 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,336.
A report released by the Labor Department on Wednesday said labour productivity climbed by 0.9% in the second quarter after inching up by a revised 0.1% in the first quarter.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, who often has emphasised the devastating costs of any conflict with North Korea, seemed to back up Trump’s tone.
U.S. President Donald Trump escalated his rhetoric towards North Korea on Thursday, saying his earlier threat to potentially bring “fire and fury” down on the nation maybe “wasn’t tough enough“. The S&P 500 CBOE Volatility Index (or VIX) measures uncertainty in the market.
Beyond geopolitical concerns, investors continued to size up company earnings reports.
Biotechnology, tobacco, and transportation stocks also saw considerable strength, while steel stocks extended a recent move to the downside.
Amid broad based weakness on Wall Street, biotechnology stocks turned in some of the market’s worst performances on the day. The stock fell 85 cents to $12.76.
Technology companies, which suffered the brunt of the selling a day earlier, were back in the lead Friday.
In the macroeconomic area, the United States government reported that the number of vacancies in the U.S. rose in June to record of nearly 6.2 million.
US crude fell 0.41 percent to $48.39 per barrel and Brent was last at $51.68, down 0.42 percent on the day.
In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline dipped 1 cent to $1.62 a gallon. The euro rose to $1.1824 from $1.1774. Natural gas gained 2 cents to $2.82 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold added $3.90 to settle at $1,294 an ounce.
Sales rose by 56% to $2.23 billion, exceeding estimates of $1.96 billion. The dollar index, which measures the US currency against a basket of other major currencies, fell 0.14 percent.
Markets overseas were mixed Tuesday.
In Paris the CAC 40 ended down 1.4%, while the DAX 30 in Frankfurt ended down 1.1%.
The FTSE 100 index closed down 0.6%, or 44.67 points, at 7,498.06.
Nordstrom also bumped up its full-year earnings to between $2.85 and $3, raising forecasts on the low-end by a dime.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 inched down less than 0.1 percent to finish at 19,729.74.
There were falls of almost 2% on South Korea’s Kospi and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, with markets in mainland China and Australia also down – taking their cues from sharp losses on Wall Street earlier.
Australian shares were down 1.3 per cent, set for a weekly loss of 0.6 percent and Chinese and Hong Kong bluechips lost 1.6 per cent and 1.9 per cent, respectively.