NEW YORK, United States - 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.
US stocks have been in retreat since President Donald Trump Tuesday issued a fiery warning to North Korea to halt its nuclear program.
About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had dropped to 21,947.15, down 0.5 percent from Wednesday's close, falling back below the 22,000 mark it first broke through on August 2.
The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.6 percent to 2,459.50, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 0.8 percent to 6,299.12.
The S&P 500 volatility index jumped again on the latest jawboning in the US-North Korea standoff.
Still, analysts said the market seemed to be a bit skeptical that the North Korea situation would grow into a major crisis, noting that the losses were still not that deep.
In other news, US wholesale inflation dropped in July, the first contraction in nearly a year and another data point that could weaken the case for the Federal Reserve to raise the benchmark interest rate again later this year.
Macy's dropped 4.2 percent as it reported second-quarter revenues fell 5.4 percent to $5.6 billion, another sign of the travails facing department stores.
Kohl's, another department store chain, slumped 8.9 percent after reporting that second-quarter sales dipped 0.9 percent compared with the year-ago period.