Markets Right Now: US stocks trade lower at midday

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

On the London stock market, mining shares saw the biggest falls as many metal prices were hit by the geopolitical concerns.

"The war of words taking place between the United States and North Korea at the moment, which includes very real threats of action, is taking its toll on investor sentiment".

"Although we certainly can get a 5 to 7 percent correction, we don't think it's the start of a significant bear market", Peterson noted.

The benchmark S&P 500 index tumbled more than 1 percent on Thursday, only the third time this year it has fallen that much, while the Nasdaq shed more than 2 percent.

The Nasdaq composite lost 13.31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,370.46.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 71 points, or 0.3 percent, to 22,013.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index inched up by 0.1% in July after coming in unchanged in June. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.26 percent. -North Korea tensions exact a toll on investor sentiment.

The VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, jumped 10.4 percent.

Avis Budget Group slumped 9.9 percent after the auto rental company cut its guidance following a weak second quarter.

Focusing on United Kingdom stocks, Old Mutual was among the biggest fallers after saying it was taking a "cautious" approach to the dividend despite hiking half-year profits.

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In other corporate results, a number of companies reported forecast-beating numbers. Consider that the S&P 500 hasn't suffered a downturn of 5% or more in 408 days, the longest streak since May 1996. However, strength in the Health Care and Materials sectors limited the losses.

The iShares MSCI South Korea Capped exchange traded fund EWY.P fell in a volume spike and ended down 0.85 percent. Heating oil fell 1 cent to $1.63 a gallon.

US crude oil futures settled almost 2 percent lower at $48.59 a barrel, as Russian Federation considered a future output resumption and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries boosted its July production numbers.

The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, was facing its worst week since the one ended December 2, which logged a loss of just over 2%. Silver gained 14 cents to $16.39 an ounce.

Wilmar International slipped 6.4 per cent or 22 cents to $3.20; Hongkong Land lost 2.1 per cent or 16 U.S. cents to US$7.34.

The U.S. dollar fell to 110.48 yen from 110.72 yen late Monday.

Across Europe, the Cac 40 in France slid 1.1% while Germany's Dax was flat. He's also been buying shares of the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF as well as shares of defense contractors - both of which rallied on Wednesday.

Sterling was last trading at $1.3009, up 0.27 percent on the day.

Investors seemed to focus instead on a lack of growth in emerging markets, as G4S reported a rise in revenue across all geographies except for the Middle East and India.

Asian markets fell sharply, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropping 2%, while USA stocks had ended lower on Thursday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.6 percent.

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