MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Recover From North Korea Jitters But Remain On Track For Weekly Loss

By Sue Chang, MarketWatch, Ryan VlastelicaFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Snap, Nvidia shares drop after results

U.S. stocks rose on Friday as Wall Street clawed back from a sharp decline in the previous session, though geopolitical uncertainty continued to be the focus for investors, contributing to weekly declines.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 43 points, or 0.2%, to 21,885, led by Apple Inc. (AAPL). The S&P 500 gained 6 points, or 0.2%, to 2,444, supported by gains in consumer-discretionary, technology and health-care sectors.

The Nasdaq Composite Index , the hardest hit equity gauge on Thursday, climbed 36 points, or 0.6%, to 6,252.

"From a geopolitical perspective, we understand why the escalation in tensions will have shaken some of the complacency out of investors," said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank Private Client Wealth Management. "And while risks remain elevated from a geopolitical perspective, valuations are not necessarily excessive, though full. But we're in a low inflationary environment, which can help valuations remain elevated for longer than they would otherwise."

Read:Few investors are excited about stocks. Is that a reason to be? (

An Associated Press report that the U.S. and North Korea have been engaged in back channel talks ( for several months even as they exchange incendiary threats may also help to soothe jitters.

On Thursday, the three major indexes logged their worst performances since mid-May ( in a session dogged by escalating tension between the U.S. and North Korea. Late in the session, President Donald Trump said perhaps his threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea "maybe wasn't tough enough." (

For the week, the Dow is on track to fall 0.9%, its biggest one-week drop since April. The S&P is looking at a decline of 1.3%, its worst week since March. The Nasdaq is on track for a weekly loss of 1.5%, its worst since June.

Related:A problem for buy-the-dip investors: no dips to buy (

Meanwhile, the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks looked poised for a weekly drop of nearly 3%, its biggest one-week decline since February 2016. Both the Nasdaq and the Russell are set for their third straight weekly decline.

Apart from geopolitical worries, some technical analysts like Tom McClellan, editor of the McClellan Market Report, blamed seasonality for this week's sharp retreat given August's record as a weak month for stocks.

The headlines about North Korea served as a spark to jolt investors out of complacency on the heels of an extended period of calm in the market, said McClellan who shared the following chart in a report.

Wall Street's so-called "fear gauge," the CBOE Volatility Index , hit the highest levels since Election Day on Friday (, after a spike on Thursday but was retreating in recent trade.

In the latest economic data, the consumer-price index ( a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in July, its fifth straight month of softness, raising more questions about whether inflation will eventually rise to hit the Federal Reserve's 2% annual rate target.

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, who has advocated for the Fed to halt interest rate hikes until inflation picks up gain, on Friday said his colleagues are telling each other "a ghost story (" about higher wage inflation that scared them into raising short-term rates.

Outside the political arena, declines in a pair of technology stocks added to the cautious tone on the day.

Shares of Snapchat parent Snap Inc.(SNAP) slid 11% a day after the company's earnings missed forecasts (, and the social-messaging company disclosed that average ad prices fell in the second quarter.

Nvidia Corp.(NVDA) shares fell 5.5%, even after the chip maker posted upbeat earnings late Thursday. Some say expectations for its server-chip business were just too high ( The stock has more than doubled over the past 12 months, gaining more than 160%.

Opinion: What to do with stocks if the U.S. and North Korea go to war (

In contrast to the U.S. market, global equities remained weak. The Stoxx Europe 600 benchmark was down 1% (, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng led the Asian losses with a drop of 2%.

An editorial in China's state-run Global Times (, published late Thursday local time, added to the pressure on Asian markets. Titled "Reckless game over the Korean Peninsula runs risk of real war," the editorial suggested China will stay neutral if North Korea strikes first, but will intervene if the U.S. is the first mover.

"If the U.S. 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.

Stock movers:Nordstrom Inc.(JWN) shares earlier rose after the retailer posted earnings that beat expectations ( but the stock is trading mostly flat.

J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) slumped 17% after it reported a wider-than-expected second-quarter loss (

Other markets: Oil turned lower after the International Energy Agency said oil supply rose for a third month as compliance with an OPEC output deal faltered but prices have rebounded ( to edge up.

Gold prices were modestly up, and headed for a strong weekly gain ( The precious metal is often used as a safe-haven investment in times of economic uncertainty.

Read:Dalio urges investors to buy gold to hedge against possible war with North Korea (

--Barbara Kollmeyer contributed to this report.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 11, 2017 13:42 ET (17:42 GMT)