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Midday Update: Geopolitical Risks Exacerbate Profit-Taking in Stocks

Led by losses in financial and technology shares, the major benchmark averages were trading lower for a third straight day as geopolitical tensions raised risk aversion and inflation data weighed on the banking sector. The Nasdaq was taking the brunt of the recent selling pressure, trading at its lowest level in nearly a month.

Global bourses were all defensive overnight after Pyongyang issued a warning to the U.S. in response to president Trump's threat to rain "fire and fury" on North Korea for its missile proliferation. The heated rhetoric between the two provided an opportunity for risk adverse investors to take profits from the Dow's 9 consecutive record highs.

Pressure on the banking sector was amplified by Thursday morning's economic data that included an unexpected decline in producer prices, and a larger-than-expected increase in initial jobless claims. Ever mindful of the persistent lack of inflationary growth, the 0.1% drop in the PPI could force the Fed to postpone a December rate hike. As a result, Dow component stocks Goldman Sachs ( GS ), JP Morgan ( JPM ) and American Express ( AXP ) were taking the brunt of the Dow's triple-digit loss.

Heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula translated into losses across Europe with the decline in the UK's FTSE-100 exacerbated by downbeat UK housing market and trade data. According to survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, home prices increased at their slowest pace since 2013, while the UK trade deficit widened 11%.

Crude oil was down $0.24 to $49.31 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.10 to $2.98 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $11.90 to $1,291.30 an ounce, while silver was up $0.18 to $17.04 an ounce. Copper was down $0.02 to $2.91 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.79% to $10.07 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 4.02% to $6.71. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 1.70% to 22.99 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.73% to $122.15. The iShares Silver Trust was up 1.06% to $16.15.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:

US MARKETS

NYSE Composite Index was down 107.52 points (-0.90%) to 11,821.94

Dow Jones Industrial Index was down 141.50 points (-0.64%) to 21,908.25

S&P 500 was down 25.79 points (-1.04%) to 2,448.80

Nasdaq Composite Index was down 103.10 points (-1.62%) to 6,248.76

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was down 108.12 points (-1.44%) to 7,389.94

DAX was down 139.70 points (-1.15%) to 12,014.30

CAC 40 was down 30.47 points (-0.59%) to 5,115.23

Nikkei 225 was down 8.97 points (-0.05%) to 19,729.74

Hang Seng Index was down 313.09 points (-1.13%) to 27,444.00

Shanghai China Composite Index was down 13.82 points (-0.42%) to 3,261.75

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index was down 81.60 points (-0.78%) to 10,189.64

NYSE Financial Sector Index was down 96.39 points (-1.26%) to 7,556.32

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was down 89.17 points (-0.66%) to 13,436.78

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) HDSN (+20.35%) Reported better-than-expected Q2 results. Selling Airgas-Refrigerants unit to Air Liquide

(+) PRGO (+15.85%) Beat Q2 results and raised FY17 guidance

(+) RADA (+10.31%) Q2 sales soared 94%

(+) GLPG (+8.30%) Announced top-line results for GLPG 1690 in Flora phase 2 trial

DOWNSIDE MOVERS:

(-) CBI (-33.74%) Reported an unexpected loss for Q2, intends to sell technology unit

(-) SYNC (-28.31%) Reported better-than-expected Q2 results but issued downbeat Q3 sales guidance and lowered its FY sales outlook below street estimates

(-) NSU (-19.47%) Reported a loss for Q2 EPS, missing expectations

(-) DDS (-15.41%) Q2 results missed Wall Street's expectations

(-) APRN (-15.22%) Reported wider-than-expected loss, sees loss widening in H2 from H1

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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