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Asian Stocks Sink Most This Year on US-North Korea Rhetoric

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The S&P 500 index had its biggest one-day drop in nearly three months on Thursday as investors fled riskier assets, with technology stocks leading the charge, in response to an increasingly aggressive exchange of threats between the United States and North Korea.

The broad-based S&P 500 was hit even harder, dropping 1.5 percent to close at 2,438.22, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 2.2 percent 6,216.87.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 35.81 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,438.21. In three days. the Nasdaq has lost 2.6% - the most since last September.

Large retailers Macy's and Kohl's tumbled on Thursday after they reported another quarter of shrinking sales.

Continuing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea plagued the U.S. stock market rattling investors and sparking a pull back. US equities slid the most since May.

"What has changed this time is that the scary threats and war of words between the USA and North Korea have intensified to the point that markets can't ignore it", said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital in Sydney, as quoted by Reuters.

Wall Street stocks dropped early Thursday after North Korea announced a plan to send missiles towards Guam, raising the stakes of a nuclear standoff with the United States.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher.

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FINANCIALS FALLING: Several financial sector companies also helped pull down the market.

Significant strength is also visible among computer hardware stocks, as reflected by the 1.1% advance by the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index.

Disappointing quarterly results from big department store chains also weighed down the market.

Shares of Snapchat parent Snap Inc.(SNAP) slid 14% a day after the company'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), and the social-messaging company disclosed that average ad prices fell in the second quarter.

Economic data showed U.S. producer prices unexpectedly fell in July, recording their biggest drop in almost a year, while separate figures showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week.

The dollar slipped to 109.26 yen from 109.85 late Wednesday.

Gold added $10.80, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $1,290.10 an ounce. The euro rose to $1.1774 from $1.1752.

Some still believe that market impact from North Korea's provocation is likely to be muted as MSCI Asia ex-Japan Index tests a trend line supporting the benchmark since its low in December.

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