Technology companies led a broad slide in U.S. stocks Thursday afternoon, putting the market on track for its biggest loss in two months. Financial companies and department store operators were among the big decliners. A batch of disappointing earnings results from big retail chains and simmering tensions between the U.S. and North Korea weighed on the market. Oil prices veered lower as early gains faded.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 24 points, or 1 percent, to 2,449 as of 2:16 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 125 points, or 0.6 percent, to 21,923. The Nasdaq composite lost 99 points, or 1.6 percent, to 6,252. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 19 points, or 1.4 percent, to 1,377.
SIMMERING TENSIONS: North Korea revealed on Thursday a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers. Japan and South Korea vowed a strong reaction if the North were to go through with the plan. The move added to escalating U.S.-North Korea tensions. The VIX, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, jumped 34.8 percent, the biggest increase since May.
TECH SLIDE: Losses among technology stocks led the market slide. Nvidia fell $4.73, or 2.7 percent, to $167.38. Advanced Micro Devices gave up 50 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $12.33.
FINANCIALS FALLING: Several financial sector companies also helped pull down the market. Bank of New York Mellon fell $1.56, or 2.9 percent, to $52.48, while Citizens Financial Group slid 86 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $34.17.
RETAIL SLUMP: Disappointing quarterly results from big department store chains put investors in a selling mood. Macy's was down 9.7 percent after the company said its sales continued to decline in the second quarter. The stock fell $2.25 to $20.79. Dillard's slumped 17.8 percent after the chain booked a loss for the second quarter as increased inventory led to big discounts. Its shares tumbled $13.09 to $60.25. Kohl's also declined, sliding $2.66, or 6.3 percent, to $39.28.
UNDERCOOKED: Blue Apron slumped 17.1 percent after the meal kit seller reported a sequential decline in customers in the second quarter due to a planned reduction in marketing. The trend appeared to overshadow strong quarterly revenue growth in the quarter. The stock fell $1.07 to $5.17.
BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.21 percent from 2.25 percent late Wednesday.
OIL: Crude oil gave up early gains. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 83 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $48.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added 39 cents to $49.56 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid 52 cents, or 1 percent, to $52.18.
METALS: Gold added $10.80, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $1,290.10 an ounce. Silver gained 20 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $17.07 an ounce. Copper fell 2 cents to $2.90 a pound.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 109.31 yen from 109.85 late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1753 from $1.1752.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major indexes in Europe slumped. Germany's DAX fell 1.1 percent, while the CAC 40 in France lost 0.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 sank 1.4 percent. Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped less than 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 1.1 percent. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.5 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down nearly 0.1 percent.