Next on watch is US inflation data, scheduled for Friday, which is expected to take investors' focus back to Federal Reserve monetary policy.
In the first four days of the week, the Standard & Poor's 500 index swung from marking its latest record high to posting its biggest single-day drop in almost three months.
FED WATCH: Investors looked ahead to an appearance Thursday by Bill Dudley, president of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of NY, for signs of the Fed's outlook on the economy.
Cracks in the stock market rally led some investors to put their cash in havens like precious metals and ultra-safe government bonds.
The increased geopolitical tensions this week, centred on the Korean peninsula and the nearby USA territory of Guam, have caused stock markets around the world to fall back as investors turn cautious.
USA and Asian stocks plunged overnight, with investors instead fleeing to traditionally safer assets including German government bonds, among the best-rated and most liquid assets in the world.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 0.90 of a point, or 0.04 percent, to 2,474.02. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, losing $166.50 to $1,882.50.
Plans are being drawn up and will be ready by the middle of August, North Korea said.
KOREA JITTERS: North Korea and the United States traded escalating threats, heightening fears miscalculation might spark conflict.
Asian equities extended heavy losses yesterday as a worldwide sell-off triggered by US President Donald Trump doubling down on his North Korea rhetoric showed no sign of abating.
Traders across the globe reacted with dismay to Trump's warning Thursday that his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on the reclusive nuclear-armed state may not have been "tough enough". It's still the highest it's been since May.
The Australian dollar, which rose to a 19-month high near 90.00 yen late in July, was down 0.6 percent at 86.77 yen after slipping to a one-month low of 86.23 yen.
Gold rose $16.70, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $1,279.30 an ounce. They are looking for confirmation that the Fed is sticking with plans for a possible December interest rate hike.
Disappointing US inflation and jobs data have not helped the dollar.
"There is a continuation of flight to the safe havens after remarks on Thursday evening from Trump about North Korea", said Quantitative Commodity Research consultant Peter Fertig.
USA stock futures ESc1 were marginally softer on Friday.
USA crude was unchanged at $48.59 per barrel and Brent was last at $51.84, down 1.63 percent on the day.