The Dow fell more than 100 points at the open on Tuesday as North Korea`s missile test over Japan prompted President Donald Trump to warn that "all options are on the table", triggering a flight to safety among investors.
The missile, tested early on Tuesday, flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific about 735 miles off the northern region of Hokkaido, a rare occasion when North Korea fired projectiles over mainland Japan.
"Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime`s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table," Trump said in a statement.
Earlier this month, North Korea threatened to fire four missiles into the sea near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam after Trump warned that the reclusive country would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States.
"It is a risk-off mode and ... investors are either staying on the sidelines for this dust to settle or booking their gains," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK.
Investors scampered to safe-haven assets, with gold jumping to its highest since November and the benchmark U.S. 10-year treasury yield dipping to its lowest since the day after the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election.
The news also jolted the CBOE Volatility index, which rose 1.95 points to 13.27.
Investors have been pouring into exchange-traded products (ETPs) linked to Vix, particularly and, that were up about 11 percent in heavy volumes.iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF was down nearly 1 percent.
The S&P and the Dow ended little changed on Monday, with energy and bank shares lower as Tropical Storm Harvey crippled the U.S. energy hub in Texas.
"The effects of Hurricane Harvey are still going to remain prominent as the flooding continues. It is going to have some serious economic impact and just how large that would be is still unclear," Aslam said.
At 9:36 a.m. ET (1336 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 100.14 points, or 0.46 percent, at 21,708.26, the S&P 500 was down 11.43 points, or 0.46 percent, at 2,432.81.
The Nasdaq Composite was down 35.69 points, or 0.57 percent, at 6,247.33.
Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the financial index`s 1.08 percent loss leading the decliners.
U.S.-listed shares of gold miners rose, with Kinross Gold rising 2.5 percent and Harmony Gold gaining about 5 percent.
Defense stocks rose. Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics were all up about 0.7 percent.
Dow component Nike fell 2.33 percent after Morgan Stanley cut its price target by $4 to $64.
Finish Line plunged about 29 percent after the sporting goods retailer cut its full-year profit forecast and adopted a poison pill.
Best Buy was down 6.33 percent after the No. 1 U.S. consumer electronics retailer warned that its strong quarterly same-store sales performance should not be seen as a "new normal".
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,988 to 629. On the Nasdaq, 1,659 issues fell and 606 advanced.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)