"Japanese equities hadn't been rising much despite positive earnings results, so investors had started jumping at shadows, doubting whether they should really be holdings onto Japanese stocks". He added that in China, the USA and South Korea, stocks that are showing the biggest declines since the rise of tensions between the US and North Korea are the companies that have risen most since June.
Stocks have largely drifted in recent sessions with trading volumes near their lows for the year as the Q2 earnings season has wound down, while the S&P 500 has failed to post a 1% daily move in either direction since the middle of May.
Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 143 points, or 0.6%, lower at 21,915, as Apple Inc.(AAPL) shares dropped more than 2% and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.(GS) shares fell 1.7%.
The Nikkei finished down 8.97 points, or 0.1 percent, at 19,729.74, erasing early morning gains.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 24.40 points, or 1.7 percent, to 1,372.54.
A Chinese state-run newspaper said on Friday that China should make clear that it will stay neutral if North Korea launches an attack that threatens the United States, but that if the USA attacks first and tries to overthrow North Korea's government, China will prevent it doing so. The stock lost $5.23 to $101.75. The Swiss franc was on pace for its biggest single-day rise against the euro since the Swiss National Bank removed its cap on the currency in January 2015. Discovery Communications declined 2.9%, while Viacom shed 1.9%. The stock lost $2.81 to $9.03.
SeaWorld Entertainment slid 6.2 percent after the theme park operator reported second-quarter revenue that fell short of Wall Street's expectations.
The 30-year bond last rose 5/32 in price to yield 2.8107%, from 2.818% late on Wednesday. It is poised to end the week down 1.9 per cent. Elsewhere, the German Dax has opened down 0.80%, France's CAC40 index is down 0.87%, and the Euro Stoxx 50 is down 0.81%.
In currencies, the yen rose 0.8 percent versus the greenback at 109.2 per dollar, the strongest level for the Japanese currency since mid June. Stocks in Taiwan, Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries were also lower. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.6 percent.
The dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of major peers, slipped 0.1 percent as U.S. Treasury yields fell.
Spot gold inched down 0.1 percent to $1,284.64 per ounce as of 0616 GMT, but was set for a weekly gain of over 2 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,135.20 won against the US dollar, down 10.10 won from the previous session's close. The stock fell 85 cents to 12.76.
Oil prices rose before a report expected to show US crude stocks fell for a sixth week. Brent crude, the global standard, lost 23 cents to $52.14 a barrel in London. Netflix lost 1.5 per cent.
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