Wall Street also is reacting to a flare-up in tensions after North Korea threatened to launch a missile strike aimed at US territory Guam, underlining deteriorating relations between Washington and Pyongyang.
After a dip of as much as 0.52 percent earlier in the day, investors appeared to take some comfort in Tillerson's comments, said Richard Steinberg, managing director at HighTower Advisors in NY. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.2 percent, to 6,370.46.
The large-cap S&P 500 Index (NYSEARCA:SPY) edged down 0.1% to close at 2,479.93, with nine of 11 sectors finishing in the red. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.3 percent to 19,738.71 while Seoul's Kospi fell 1.1 percent to 2,368.39.
The price of crude oil jumped to 49.56 per barrel, climbing about 0.8 percent.
USS Nimitz Jet Harassed by Drone
One unnamed defense official told Fox News that it was the first time an Iranian drone has "interrupted a flight pattern". This created a collision hazard and "is not in keeping with global maritime customs and laws", according to the Navy.
Economic data showed USA worker productivity rose more than expected in the second quarter but the trend remained weak.
US stock index futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Wednesday, as investors focus on rising geopolitical tensions between the USA and North Korea, and get ready to pore over another slew of corporate earnings.
Chinese stocks seemed little affected though, and Australian stocks rose Wednesday after a weaker Tuesday amid strong earnings reports from big banks.
European shares were also lower following reports that a auto had rammed a group of soldiers in Paris, injuring six before speeding off in what officials identified as a suspected terrorist attack. The S&P 500 closed 0.24% lower at 2,474.92, with materials leading decliners. Gold was last up 1.4 percent, its highest point since mid-June, while the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen rose.
Travel website operator Priceline Group Inc fell 8.2 percent after a disappointing financial forecast.
Homeowners upset after affluent San Francisco street sold at auction for $90000
It is "the most unique property I've come across, by far", said Cheng, a real estate agent who focuses on investment properties. All that time, it seems, the bill had been mailed to an accountant who stopped working for the homeowners in the 1980s.
Bond prices didn't move much. The Nasdaq composite climbed 30 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,414.
US equivalents fell 4 bps to 2.24 percent.
In Europe, France's CAC 40 fell 1.6 percent to 5,135 while Germany's DAX was down 1.3 percent at 12,133.
German flavours and fragrance maker Symrise fell 3.6 percent, with analysts pointing to margins missing estimates.
Godzilla star Haruo Nakajima dies aged 88
Nakajima told Great Big Story he was proud of his role as Godzilla . " Godzilla's breath is nuclear radiation". The actor agreed with that assertion, saying in 2014: "I am the original, the real thing, .