The SMI dropped 135.18 points, or 1.5%, to 9,027.15.
Markets saw a tentative recovery in risk appetite in overnight USA and early Asian trading, but anxiety mounted again as Asian stocks fell back and London, Frankfurt and Paris dropped 0.5-1.2 percent in Europe.
Rising tensions between North Korea and the U.S. led traditional safe havens to post gains today. Also, the figures and forecasts of auto rental company Avis were disappointing and that share trimmed 10 percent.
The market was waiting for United States consumer inflation data on Friday that would offer more clues about future Fed decisions.
"The war of words taking place between the U.S. and North Korea at the moment, which includes very real threats of action, is taking its toll on investor sentiment". When prices of bonds rise, yields fall.
"Although risk aversion was felt in Europe, the toning down of language saw a recovery in the US (session)", National Australia Bank economist Tapas Strickland said in a Thursday note.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 0.90 of a point, or 0.04 percent, to 2,474.02.
Germany's DAX was also down 1.1% as bond yields fell. Nvidia fell $6.08, or 3.5 percent, to $166.03.
Semafo jumped 10.3 percent to C$2.99 after Credit Suisse raised its recommendation on the gold miner to "outperform" from "neutral" following its second-quarter results, and Finning International Inc rose 6.9 percent to C$27.63 after the heavy equipment company reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations and raised its dividend. USA gold futures gained 1.63 percent to $1,283.20 an ounce.
Markets were largely flat otherwise, with the S&P down 0.04% overnight and losses in Asia were small. That's the index's lowest level in two months. Meanwhile, labor costs over the same period were kept under control as a result of improving productivity - they rose by 0.6%. Humana rose $3.59, or 1.4 percent, to $253.81. Silver gained 47 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $16.86 an ounce.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 109.87 yen from 110.48 yen late Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, gained 10 cents to $52.24 in London. The US currency was up relative to the euro, though not by much - euro/dollar traded at 1.1745.
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