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.
The broad-based Stoxx Europe 600 stock index dropped 0.5 percent in early trading, with key indices, such as Britain's FTSE 100, Germany's DAX and France's CAC all down 0.5 percent or more.
Small attributed a large part of the Dow's decline to disappointing earnings from Disney after the media giant reported a weak quarter, said it would pull its movies from Netflix and start two of its own video streaming services.
North Korea does have the habit of shooting off its mouth but this time, the threats seem to be much more serious and that is why the world leaders are taking it a bit more seriously this time and that is also the reason why we are seeing the stock markets correct and the gold prices shoot up. Consumer-focused companies and technology stocks slumped.
Stocks are ending broadly lower on Wall Street, led by declines in technology companies and banks, two of the highest-performing sectors over the a year ago.
US crude was unchanged at $48.59 per barrel and Brent was last at $51.84, down 1.63 percent on the day.
FIRE AND FURY: Keeping up his tough talk, Trump told reporters that Kim Jong Un's government should "get their act together" or face extraordinary trouble, and suggested his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea was too mild.
That prompted North Korea to say it was considering firing missiles near Guam, a U.S. Pacific island territory. Gold rose 1.2%, while the Swiss franc was on track to post its biggest single day increase against the euro in about two-and-a-half years.
Stock markets nosedived as investors continued moving into gold amid escalating political tensions between the United States and North Korea.
"North Korea was fodder for the overnight trade, and as we headed into today we haven't seen any more saber-rattling", said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.4 percent to 3,261.75. USA -traded Nikkei futures fell 2 percent to their lowest since mid-May. Meanwhile, the price of gold, a safe haven for nervous investors, climbed $16 or 1.28 percent to $1,278.70 per ounce at noon.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index fell 39.02 points, or 0.26 per cent, to end at 15,217.33.
Overseas markets were also lower Wednesday.