In Frankfurt, Innogy dropped 1.60 percent.
About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had dropped to 21,947.15, down 0.5 percent from Wednesday's close, falling back below the 22,000 mark it first broke through on August 2. The Nasdaq lost 135 points, or 2.1 percent, to 6,216.
In his latest warning to North Korea, US President Donald Trump said on Friday military solutions were "fully in place" and referred to American weapons as being "locked and loaded" should the nuclear-armed nation act "unwisely". Top automaker Hyundai Motor fell 2.07 percent to 142,000 won.
But although US equities on Wednesday managed to close only slightly down even after Trump's warning that "fire and fury" would rain on North Korea, on Thursday the chickens came home to roost on Wall Street.
"The typical text book trade is that investors rush for safe havens". Those losses dragged the S&P 500 down 1.5% for the week, its worst such showing since the week ended March 24.
The VIX rose further on Wednesday, rising as far as 12.11, its highest in nearly a month.
Trump's threats have escalated since reports broke at the beginning of the week that North Korea had successfully produced a nuclear warhead that could fit inside its missiles.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index fell 1%.
France's CAC dropped 1.6 per cent and Germany's DAX fell 1.3 per cent.
The local currency closed at 1,143.50 won against the USA dollar, down 1.50 won from the previous session's close.More news: Iran Parliament Increase Missile Funds After US Sanctions
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Investors said the week's swings were as much a result of earnings as geopolitics. Japan is the world's biggest creditor country and there is an assumption investors there will repatriate funds in a crisis.
Biotech company Novozymes gained 1.16 percent in Copenhagen after cutting its growth outlook.
Stock movers:Nordstrom Inc.(JWN) shares edged up after the retailer posted earnings that beat expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nordstrom-shares-rise-after-retailer-tops-views-sales-rise-2017-08-10).
"From a geopolitical perspective, we understand why the escalation in tensions will have shaken some of the complacency out of investors", said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank Private Client Wealth Management. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at USD1.826 compared to yesterday's USD1.1772.
Yields on core government debt fell. In three days. the Nasdaq has lost 2.6% - the most since last September.
Gold rose 0.6 per cent to $1,268 an ounce.
"There's sort of a vacuum" in the market, Chaikin said.
"But looking ahead unless we start to see a conflict break out or a major stock market correction, (gold) is capped at 1,295 (although) the upside at moment is the favored direction".
Shares Snap fell 1.94, or 14%, to 11.83 after the Snapchat parent reported earnings late Thursday that missed analyst forecasts. Bent crude, the global benchmark, rose 19 cents to $52.33 a barrel.