North American stocks were set to follow global markets lower on Wednesday as investors held back from betting on riskier assets amid escalating North Korea tensions.

North Korea said it was considering an attack on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam just hours after President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang that any threat to the U.S. would be met with “fire and fury”.

September futures on the S&P TSX index were down 0.16 percent at 7:15 a.m. ET.

Safe-haven assets gained. Gold rose 0.6 percent, while the Swiss franc was on track to post its biggest single day rise in about two-and-a-half years.

U.S. stocks closed lower on Tuesday after Trump’s comments sparked a late afternoon selling. The Dow industrials snapped a 9-day streak of closing records.

The CBOE Volatility Index, the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility, closed at its highest in about a month.

European shares were also lower following reports that a car had rammed a group of soldiers in Paris, injuring six.

U.S. trading volume has been low with summer setting in and the U.S. Congress expected to be in recess until Sept. 5. The S&P hasn’t moved more than 0.5 percent in one day since July and has fallen more than 1 percent only twice this year.

Canada’s housing starts report, due at 8:15 a.m. ET, is expected to show builders broke ground on 205,000 homes in July, less than the 212,700 units in June.

Building permits are forecast to have fallen 2 percent in June, compared with a rise of 8.9 percent in May. This data is scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m.

Canada’s main stock index ended nearly flat on Tuesday as resource and technology shares weighed, offsetting positive earnings results and a deal in the gaming sector.

Dow Jones Industrial Average e-mini futures were down 0.17 percent at 7:15 a.m. ET, while S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 0.41 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were down 0.58 percent.

© Thomson Reuters 2017