Some investors are on edge after U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea of "fire and fury". Mainland markets also traded below the flat line, with the Shanghai Composite slipping 0.18% and the Shenzhen Composite lower by 0.14%.
Markets were also lower in Europe and Asia. Technology companies were leading a broad slide in US stocks in early trading Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, as investors pored over the latest batch of corporate earnings reports.
All three USA indices fell sharply, with the broad-based S&P 500 tumbling 1.5 percent. It was the benchmark's worst percentage drop since a 1.8 % decline on that same day in May.
Trump's remarks on Tuesday that North Korea would face "fire and fury like the world has never seen" pushed Wall Street lower on Tuesday and drove up the VIX "fear gauge" of expected volatility on the S&P 500 higher.
That prompted North Korea to say it was considering firing missiles near Guam, a U.S. Pacific island territory.
Sterling was little changed at US$1.30 and near a 2-1/2-week low, as investors looked to key data due next week for clues on the health of the British economy as the country prepares to leave the European Union.
The yen held steady against the dollar, taking a breather after having risen on Wednesday to its highest level in almost eight weeks.
Slater: Manchester duo poised to challenge Chelsea for title
Jose Mourinho's negative tactics clearly don't sit well, as four writers predicted United to draw at Old Trafford . They need to get in another two or three players, I think, to have a chance of retaining that title".
"We believe continued sabre-rattling between the two nuclear powers could take gold prices higher still".
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 71 points, or 0.3 percent, to 22,013.
Investors fled to gold on Wednesday as tensions between North Korea and the United States escalated, pushing the precious metal's price to an intraday high of $1276.2/oz.
The dollar index .DXY , which measures the USA currency against a basket of other major currencies, fell 0.14 percent.
"The geopolitical tensions could be the catalyst for the market's direction in the next coming weeks depending on how it all shakes out", said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at Boston Private. Meanwhile, the price of gold, a safe haven for nervous investors, climbed $16 or 1.28 percent to $1,278.70 per ounce at noon. The Russell 2000 index gave up 1.7 percent to 1,372.54. The September copper contract was down two cents to $2.91 a pound.
The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.7% at closing, France's CAC 40 fell 1.4% after a auto hit a group of soldiers in Paris in what is thought to have been a deliberate act, and a fall in bond yields saw Germany's DAX down 1.1%.
Asian equity markets extended a global slide on Friday, sending investors fleeing to less risky assets such the yen, the Swiss franc and US Treasuries.