S&P closes barely lower despite N. Korea tensions

Markets Reuters

In what military experts say appears to be a North Korean KN-08 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICMB) is paraded across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade on Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea, to celebrate the 105th ... birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the country's late founder and grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un. Military analysts say the missiles could one day be capable of hitting targets as far away as the continental United States, although the North has yet to flight test them. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

U.S. stocks clawed back losses late on Wednesday as investors appeared to brush off geopolitical concerns after falling in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's "fire and fury" warning to North Korea.

Continue Reading Below

Bargain-seeking investors instead turned their focus to strength in the global economy and earnings toward the end of an active trading day.

"It's amazing when you consider the headlines just how calm the equity markets are, how they've taken things in their stride," said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina.

More From FOXBusiness.com...

"There was some skittishness earlier but then some buyers stepped in," he said.

Investors had rushed to safe-haven assets after strongly worded exchanges between Washington and nuclear-armed North Korea late on Tuesday. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he did not believe there was an imminent threat.

"You'd need to see something more tangible than just rhetoric for a broader pullback," Richard Steinberg, managing director at HighTower Advisors in New York.

Continue Reading Below

After a dip of as much as 0.52 percent earlier in the day, Wall Street's three major indexes bounced off intraday lows.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 36.64 points, or 0.17 percent, to end at 22,048.7, the S&P 500 lost 0.9 point, or 0.04 percent, to 2,474.02 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 18.13 points, or 0.28 percent, to 6,352.33.

While gold, a safe-haven favorite, pared some gains it was last up 1.2 percent at around its highest since mid-June, while the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen also rose.

Politics lifted U.S. defense stocks. Lockheed Martin , Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman all rose and the Dow Jones U.S. defense index was up 1.6 percent after hitting a record high.

The CBOE Volatility Index, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, ended at a session low of 11.11 after rising as high as 12.63.

Six of the S&P 500 sectors ended higher. The consumer discretionary index was one of its biggest losers with a 0.47 percent drop. Its biggest drags were Priceline and Walt Disney.

Disney shares closed down 3.9 percent as investors were skeptical of its plan to launch streaming services rather than rely on Netflix.

Travel website operator Priceline Group Inc fell 6.9 percent after a disappointing financial forecast.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.29-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.47-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

About 6.48 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges on Wednesday compared with the 6.16 billion average for the last 20 sessions. 

(By Kimberly Chin; Additional reporting by Sinead Carew, Tanya Agrawal and Sruthi Shanker; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish)

What do you think?

Click the button below to comment on this article.