Stocks drift lower on Wall Street

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Keeping up his tough talk, U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's government should "get their act together" or face the consequences, and suggested that his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea was too mild.

The wider S&P 500 index was up 0.13% at 2,441.32, while the Nasdaq climbed 0.64% to 6,256.56.

"We've had some competing forces play out over the past 12 hours - the U.S. dollar was stronger off economic data, but that was quickly reversed with President Trump's comments about North Korea earlier today (Wednesday)", said ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes.

Over the five days, the S&P 500 dropped 1.43 percent, one basis point shy of the year's biggest weekly drop, posted in March.

In response to Trump's threat, a report on state-run media in North Korea said it would "turn the USA mainland into the theater of a nuclear war" if it looked like America was going to attack.

"There aren't many players in the market, nor is there much incentive [for prices] to move right now, so I think it's going to be very quiet for the rest of the month", he commented.

But the yen added to an already-strong weekly rally of close to 1.5 percent, hitting its highest in nearly four months versus the dollar at 108.73 yen.

"There are four more (inflation) prints between now and the December FOMC meeting and we expect the Fed to remain data-dependent, if a touch more cautious", said TD Securities in a research note.

The euro, which hit its highest since the start of 2015 on August 2, dipped 0.1 percent to $1.1761 in morning trade in Europe.

European markets also slid in early trade after Wall Street indices suffered their biggest losses in almost three months Thursday, while the dollar struggled to recover from eight-week lows below 109 yen as investors fled to safe haven assets.

With Japanese markets closed for a public holiday, Hong Kong led the downward charge in Asia-Pacific as the Hang Seng lost more than two percent. Economists had expected another 0.1 percent uptick.

Markets in Italy, France and Germany also saw declines. Alliance Data Systems fell $6.28, or 2.7 percent, to $225.64.

The yield on US 10-year Treasurys slid to 2.192% Friday from 2.211% Thursday.

The dollar widened losses against the yen to hit a two-month low.

Aside from geopolitical concerns, gold-focused investors are awaiting United States inflation data set to be released on Friday (August 8). The euro fell to $1.1735 from $1.1752.

Oil prices rose before a report expected to show USA crude stocks fell for a sixth week.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 5/32 in price to yield 2.194 percent, from 2.211 percent late on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price global oils, added 21 cents to $52.91.

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