Markets Right Now: US stocks trade lower at midday

The kiwi was 0.79 percent lower against the greenback after New Zealand's central bank said it was slightly more uncomfortable with the high level of the local dollar than it had been in May. -North Korea tensions and the weak data that further reduced expectations of an interest rate hike in December.

South Korea's KOSPI fell 1.7 per cent on Friday to its lowest since May 24, but its losses for the week were a relatively modest 3.2 per cent.

Asian markets continued to fall on Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-continue-to-fall-after-wednesdays-selloff-2017-08-09), with losses of over 1% for the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index.

"Traders would require nerves of steel to start buying into the stock market now, given standoff between the USA and North Korea", David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets U.K., said in a note to clients.

Global political tensions have seen investors sell off shares as they flee to less risky assets such as the yen and the Swiss franc.

Spot gold had eased 0.1 per cent to $1,276.40 per ounce at 0322 GMT.

North Korea appears more emboldened than ever, and, due to years of failed American foreign policy, it is closer than ever to possessing the weapons to finally put some bite behind its bark.

Toyota shares tumbled 1.57 percent to 6,236 yen and Nintendo was off 1.83 percent to end the session at 37,490 yen.

"Heightened geopolitical risks overnight have seen the markets flip from risk-on to risk-off and we have to wait and see how long this move runs before adding some positions", said Viraj Patel, an FX strategist at ING in London. The Nasdaq composite fell 45 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,324.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 lost 1.19 percent.

The dollar index was last down 0.07% at 93.41.

U.S. Treasury yields fell Wednesday with yields on the 10-year note at a six-week low.

"It reinforces market concerns that inflation is perhaps just not picking up in the way the Fed had been expecting", said Osborne.

The 30-year bond last rose 6/32 in price to yield 2.7847 percent, from 2.794 percent late on Thursday.

Gold hit a two-month high of US$1,278 an ounce amid the nervousness. On the New York Mercantile Exchange light, sweet crude futures for delivery in September rose $0.39, or 0.8%, to $49.56 a barrel.

Ongoing global glut concerns lingered in oil markets despite a bigger-than-expected draw in US crude inventories, leaving prices volatile.

United States crude rose 0.41 per cent to US$48.79 per barrel and Brent was last at US$52.01, up 0.21 per cent.