The CBOE Volatility Index, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term USA stock market volatility, rose the most in about 12 weeks. "It seems the U.S.is one step closer to engaging in military conflict with North Korea".
"Should the North Korea situation develop it may just prove to be the catalyst to push the institutional world to commit flows back to this asset class on a sustained basis", he said. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.7 percent lower at 7,489.
Six of the S&P 500 sectors ended higher.
Technology companies led USA stocks slightly higher in afternoon trading Friday, recouping some of the losses from the day before.
BONDS: Bond prices were rose.
Wall Street's so-called "fear gauge", the CBOE Volatility Index, meanwhile, hit the highest levels since Election Day on Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-streets-fear-gauge-on-course-for-biggest-weekly-surge-in-2-years-2017-08-11), after a spike on Thursday.
The Swiss franc and the yen notched big gains against the dollar on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea that it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States.
So far the measured decline in global stocks suggests investors buy that scenario.
Fossil tumbled 25.1% after the watch maker said sales continued to weaken, falling short of analysts' estimates. The stock added $3.44 to $37.91.
Copper lost 0.39 percent to $6,455.00 a tonne. The stock fell 85 cents to $12.76.
Blue Apron shares rose 6.73 percent after the meal-kit delivery service provider reported a rise in revenue in its first quarterly report since debut.
JAPAN MACHINERY DISAPPOINTS: Orders for machinery in June, considered a leading economic indicator, were slower than analysts had forecast and at their weakest since May 2016. It added 39 cents to $49.56 a barrel overnight. The stock has more than doubled over the past 12 months, gaining more than 160%. Its shares slid $9.77, or 5.3 percent, to $174.02.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 23 cents to settle at $48.82 a barrel on the on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, gained 40 cents to $52.54 in London.
In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline dipped 1 cent to $1.62 a gallon.
"I do think we could see markets pull back between 1 and 5 per cent".
The market's main safe-haven, gold, hit a two-month high of 1278 an ounce. Silver gained 14 cents to $16.39 an ounce.
United States crude futures extended losses from Thursday when they tumbled 2 per cent on fears of slowing demand and lingering concerns over a global oversupply.
The dollar index, which measures the US currency against a basket of major peers, slipped 0.1 per cent as US Treasury yields fell.
"We would now be careful with a whiff of risk aversion in the air and, by extension, also stay away from shorts in the rates market", RBC's global macro strategist Peter Schaffrik said.
France's CAC dropped 1.6 per cent and Germany's DAX fell 1.3 per cent.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 71 points, or 0.3 percent, to 22,013.
S&P 500 e-minis were down 10.25 points, or 0.41 percent, with 180,193 contracts traded.