Global Stocks Brush Off North Korea's Latest Missile Launch

By Ese Erheriene Features Dow Jones Newswires

Investors put North Korea's latest missile launch behind them, with slight haven gains early Friday reversing by midday and stocks steadily moving higher from morning lows.

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Japanese stocks have been climbing nearly all session despite gains in the yen, which started overnight. But continued dollar strength in Asian trading helped push the Nikkei to session highs by early afternoon, rising 0.5%. The index was also on pace for its best week since November, climbing 3.2%, as the yen reversed last week's strength.

Meanwhile, S&P 500 futures were down 0.1%.

Friday's missile launch isn't "something we have not seen before," noted Woon Tian Yong, a market analyst at Informa Global Markets. "Markets are not going to take this too [seriously]."

Markets have shown some missile fatigue amid stocks rebounding and London spot-gold prices falling back to prelaunch levels in Asia.

Versus the dollar, the yen moved from Yen110.23 in late Thursday trading in New York to as high as Yen109.60 after the launch. The dollar recently rebounded to Yen110.35 and was slightly up overall in Asian trading, according to The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index.

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Friday's North Korea reactions followed a strong global stock rebound at the start of the week--worries had ebbed after ratcheting up ahead of last Saturday's anniversary of North Korea's founding.

South Korea's Kospi stock index was recently down 0.1% amid a similar decline for the won versus the dollar.

For a number of Asian markets, local factors were at work Friday morning.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1% at session lows on continued weakness in financial stocks. But they rebounded sharply by midday, allowing the index to finish morning trading up 0.3%.

There was no such rebound in Australia, helping push the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.7%. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto both fell nearly 2% on recent declines in metals prices.

New Zealand's NZX 50 fared even worse, dropping 0.8% on steady afternoon selling. Blue chips Spark and Ryman Healthcare fell nearly 2%.

While Friday's missile launch didn't generate a lasting market reaction, Goldman Sachs said political worries are still going to keep stocks rangebound--including Japan, despite what the investment bank sees as an improving economic picture there.

In the commodities market, oil futures fell modestly in Asia, extending Thursday-afternoon declines in the U.S. After having risen every day this week, both U.S. and global crude benchmarks were down 0.3%.

Suryatapa Bhattacharya contributed to this article.

Write to Ese Erheriene at ese.erheriene@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 15, 2017 01:28 ET (05:28 GMT)