FTSE 100: 7246.77 ▼ -0.89 (-0.01%)
Wall Street clawed back losses but closed slightly lower on Wednesday amid earnings disappointments by Walt Disney and other big companies and as investors appeared to brush off North Korea concerns.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 37 points, or 0.17%, to end at 22,049, the S&P 500 lost one point, or 0.04%, to 2,474 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 18 points, or 0.28%, to 6,352.
Investors had rushed to safe-haven assets after strongly worded exchanges between Washington and nuclear-armed North Korea late on Tuesday. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he did not believe there was an imminent threat.
After a dip of as much as 0.52% earlier in the day, Wall Street's three major indexes bounced off intraday lows.
Politics lifted US defense stocks. Lockheed Martin , Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman all rose and the Dow Jones US defense index was up 1.6% after hitting a record high.
Outside of geopolitical concerns, disappointing company earnings and outlooks put traders in a selling mood.
Consumer-focused stocks, media companies and banks accounted for much of the market decline. They outweighed gains in health care stocks and elsewhere. Small-company stocks fell more than the rest of the market.
Six of the S&P 500 sectors ended higher. The consumer discretionary index plunged 0.47%. Its biggest drags were Priceline and Walt Disney.
Disney shares closed down 3.9% as investors were skeptical of its plan to launch streaming services rather than rely on Netflix, which fell 1.4%.
Shares in several other big media companies also declined. Discovery Communications declined 2.9%, while Viacom shed 1.9%.
Travel website operator Priceline Group Inc fell 6.9% after a disappointing financial forecast.
Fossil tumbled 25.1% after the watch maker said sales continued to weaken, falling short of analysts’ estimates.
In Asia, markets appeared to stabilise on Thursday in morning session, although geopolitical tensions involving North Korea continued to weigh on equities.
South Korea's Kospi slid 0.44%, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.08% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.41%.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped 0.47% while mainland markets traded marginally higher. The Shanghai Composite added 0.08% and the Shenzhen Composite inched higher by 0.07%.