North Korea crisis hits stock market raising fears for pension savings

Gains among technology companies helped snap a three-day losing streak for USA stocks Friday, though the market ended with its worst weekly loss since March.

European shares dropped to their lowest level since late March as cyclicals fell and some big stocks went ex-dividend, overshadowing a number of upbeat earnings reports. The S&P 500 sank 1.7% from Tuesday to Thursday, the Dow fell 1.1%, and the Nasdaq dropped 2.4%.

Macy's shares closed down 10.2 percent and Kohl's fell nearly 6 percent as the companies continued to report a drop in quarterly same-store sales, stoking concerns that their turnarounds may still be a long way off.

The influential financial stocks were among the biggest drags on the index, with Royal Bank of Canada down 1.0 percent to C$93.36, and Manulife Financial Corp falling 2.8 percent to C$24.93.

The CBOE Volatility Index, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, rose to a near three-month high of 15.36.

The Dow slid as declines in shares of Apple and those of Goldman Sachs, recently down 2.3 percent and 1.7 percent respectively, outweighed gains in shares of McDonald's and those of Coca-Cola, recently up 1.4 percent and 0.5 percent respectively.

Shares of Michael Kors ended up 21.5 percent, after the luxury goods maker raised its full-year revenue forecast. Silver gained 47 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $16.86 an ounce.

The Labor Department is also expected to issue its Producer Price Index (PPI), which is likely to have remained unchanged at 0.1 percent in July.

Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper suffers ugly-looking knee injury
The series opener Friday was postponed after a lengthy rain delay to be a part of a day-night doubleheader Sunday. Rookie Andrew Stevenson came on to play center field in the second and Brian Goodwin moved from center to right.

The NASDAQ Composite Index and Dow started the day lower but regained strength and recovered some losses as the day progressed.

The negative headlines provided many investors with an opportunity to pocket some of their recent gains following a string of record highs fueled by strong corporate earnings.

Among economic data, the U.S. Labor Department is likely to report that initial jobless claims remained unchanged at 240,000 for the week ended August 5. The Korea tensions though have seen both US and European markets this week push back expectations of when the Fed and ECB might hike interest rates.

The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.64 cents U.S., down from an average price of 78.71 cents USA on Wednesday.

Canadian Tire Corp Ltd rose 3.4 percent to C$146.65.

In a note to investors, Paul Christopher, head global market strategist, and Tracie McMillion, head of global asset allocation, suggest, "the threat of a nuclear weapon is certainly more serious than previous threats, but that threat also may increase the probability of a diplomatic solution". Copper rose 1 cent to $2.91 a pound. Brent crude, used to price global oils, gained 16 cents to $52.30 in London.

US crude was down 0.9 percent at $48.16 per barrel, on track for a weekly loss of 2.9 percent. Euro zone blue chips slipped 1.1pc.

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