Regional stocks remained lower throughout the session after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an explicit threat to strike a USA military base in Guam (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/north-korea-threatens-missile-strike-on-us-base-on-guam-2017-08-08).
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who often has emphasized the devastating costs of any conflict with North Korea, seemed to back up Trump's tone.
All 11 major S&P sectors were lower and the consumer discretionary index was the biggest loser with a 1 percent drop. The NASDAQ Composite Index fell 0.28% and closed the day at 6,352.33.
Investors reacted by driving up the price of gold and bonds, traditional safe investments.
The fall comes against a background of increasing tension between North Korea and the US, with the former making a threat to land a missile just short of the US Pacific territory of Guam. North Korea said that it was considering Guam as a target to fire missiles.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.5 percent, while Japan's Nikkei was 1.3 percent lower as the stronger yen sapped investors' appetite.
Meanwhile, gold stocks bucked the downtrend, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 1.3 percent.
On the currency markets, the pound was marginally higher against the USA dollar at 1.30 and up 0.1% versus the euro at 1.11.
However, shares of Dean Foods tumbled, trading 20.1 percent weaker at US$11.96 as of 2.24pm in NY, after the USA dairy processor posted quarterly results that fell short of expectations and downgraded its full-year forecast amid "a challenging and rapidly evolving retail environment". The pan-European STOXX 600 hit its lowest level since the end of March, down 1.1%.
Spot gold rose 0.3 per cent to $1,264.50 per ounce at 0324 GMT, while USA gold futures for December delivery rose 0.6 per cent to $1,270.40 per ounce.
The Dow Jones Industrials stumbled 138.94 points to 21,909.76, with Goldman Sachs contributing the most losses.
The VSTOXX, Europe's main gauge of equity market investor anxiety, stirred to reach its highest level in two weeks, though still remained at subdued levels, while its U.S. counterpart - the Vix - touched a one-month high.
With the backdrop of rising tensions between North Korea and the U.S., Strategas Research studied the immediate and longer-term impact on the S&P 500 from a series of key events going back to World War II.
"We are encouraged by our first-quarter performance, although we continue to believe that fiscal 2018 will be a transition year for our company, as we focus on laying the foundation for the future by executing on our strategic plan", he said. The Greenback retreated from its high into the close after Trump's warning sent investors into the safety of the Japanese Yen and other currencies. Silver also rose, gaining 43 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $16.82 an ounce. Brent crude, used to price global oils, gave up 29 cents to $51.85 in London.