European stocks extended declines Thursday, pulling Wall Street futures lower, as investors continue to express concern over the escalating military tensions between North Korea and the United States and move into safer assets.

The region-wide Stoxx Europe 600 index, the broadest measure of share prices, was marked around 0.33% lower at 378.62 points in the opening 90 minutes of trading, with benchmarks in Frankfurt and Paris notching similar percentage declines after both suffered their biggest single-day dips since July 21 during the Wednesday session.

Britain's FTSE 100 was marked 55 points lower at 7,442.66, but several heavyweight shares, including Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS.A) , BP plc (RDS.A) and GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) , began trading without the right to their regular dividend at the start of the session, trimming at least 40 points from the benchmark.

Switzerland's SMI, which recorded its second-biggest decline of the year yesterday as the Swiss franc rose more than 1% against the European single currency, gained around 0.1% by 10:30 Zurich time.

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Markets remain rattled, however, by the brewing standoff between Washington and Pyongyang, with the latter detailing plans it says will culminate in a missile strike of the U.S. territory of Guam in the South Pacific ocean. 

Gold for immediate delivery traded at 1,280.65 in early European dealing, the highest in nearly two months, while while the dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a basket of six global currencies, gained 0.12% to 93.74. Benchmark 10-year German bund yields, a proxy for European government borrowing costs and a key risk sentiment indicator for regional markets, were marked at 0.43%, just 1 basis point from the six-weeks lows reached in Wednesday trading. 

Stocks overnight in Asia stabilised, although with a bias to the downside, as shares in South Korea fell to the lowest level in two months and the region-wide MSCI Asia ex-Japan index falling 0.11%. The yen drifted 0.4% lower from yesterday's levels to 1.1002 against the U.S. dollar, helping to keep the benchmark Nikkei 225 largely unchanged over the Thursday trading session, 

Global oil prices edged modestly higher in early European trading, with West Texas Intermediate crude futures for September delivery changing hands at $49.73 per barrel and Brent contracts for October delivery, the global benchmark, adding around 30 cents to their Wednesday close in New York to trade at $53.01.

Early indications from U.S. futures prices suggest a slight dip at the opening bell for the Dow Jones Industrial Average of around 0.21%, with slightly larger pullbacks anticipated for the broader S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

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