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President Donald Trump said earlier this week that if North Korea continues to threaten the United States, it will be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” a statement that stopped a streaking stock market in its tracks. Today, in an impromptu press briefing, the president doubled down on those previous remarks, saying “if anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough.”
And again, the markets tumbled.
Prior to the president’s warning on Thursday, the S&P and Nasdaq were already down, and the Dow had gained on losses from earlier in the day.
But after the president met with the press just before 3 p.m. Eastern at his New Jersey golf club, the three major indexes dropped. The president warned that North Korea “better get their act together, or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble.”
On the day, the Dow dropped 0.93%, or 204.69 points, to close at 21,844.01. Likewise the S&P 500 slipped 1.45%, or 35.81 points, to close at 2,438.21. The Nasdaq also tumbled, dropping 135.46 points to close down 2.13% at 6,216.87.
Today’s result marks a third consecutive market drop, quite the contrast to the nine-day streak of all-time highs that preceded it. The falter comes as mixed messaging from the White House has led to uncertainty over whether the Trump administration has a coherent plan to contain Kim Jong-un’s regime and nuclear ambitions.
After threatening to possibly meet North Korea’s provocations with “fire and fury” on Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters on Wednesday that “Americans should sleep well at night, [and have] have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days.” On Wednesday, North Korea also threatened to strike the Pacific U.S. territory of Guam by test-firing ballistic missiles into the waters surrounding the island.
While the markets dislike uncertainty, it’s not all bad news for investors. Four of the five biggest U.S. defense contractors saw gains yesterday. And one market—the color of which President Trump is fond of—has gained significantly since the original “fire and fury” barb: Gold. The commodity started Tuesday at $1,265.70 and ended today at $1,291.30, a two-month high.