Dow loses more than 100 points amid North Korea tensions

United States equities dipped the most in May as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea persisted.

"The geopolitical tensions could be the catalyst for the market's direction in the next coming weeks depending on how it all shakes out", said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at Boston Private, as quoted by CNBC. "If you think this is just rattling sabers, and it's just words, then you could view this as a buying opportunity".

Gold, meanwhile, a traditional safe haven for investors, gained $26.50 since Monday, closing Thursday at $1291.20 per ounce.

"You'd need to see something more tangible than just rhetoric for a broader pullback", said Richard Steinberg, managing director at HSW Advisors, a finance team within HighTower Advisors, in NY.

Valeant's stock, which rallied a day before following quarterly results, sank 9.6 percent to C$17.85 after it said its subsidiaries in Australia were the subject of a tax audit.

At 12.28pm eastern time (16.28 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 52.87 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 22,032.47, the S&P 500 was down 2.8 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 2,472.12.

Nvidia's quarterly revenue in its data center and automotive businesses missed estimates, dragging the chipmaker's shares down 5.43 percent. The Swiss franc and the Japanese yen also rose.

The S&P 500 has hadn't a single day move of more than 0.5 percent since mid-July and has fallen more than 1 percent only twice this year.

The CBOE Volatility Index, a barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, closed at its highest since the USA presidential election on Thursday, but was down 1.22 points at 14.82 points on Friday. The S&P 500 and Dow were both coming off record highs. Major stock indexes across Europe and Asia also posted weekly declines.

Disney dropped 4.5 percent after reporting a weak quarter and saying it would pull its movies from Netflix and start its own video streaming services.

At home, the Footsie rose marginally in the previous session, having added 10.79 points to end the session 0.14 percent higher at 7,542.73, finding support in strong energy shares, which helped offset a drop in InterContinental Hotels Group (LON:IHG) and Paddy Power Betfair (LON:PPB), whose results disappointed investors. Economists had expected another 0.1 percent uptick.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 2,309 to 518.

Data showed USA producer prices unexpectedly fell in July, recording their biggest drop in almost a year, while another set showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week.