Stocks Brush Off North Korea's Latest Missile Launch

By Akane Otani Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks wobbled Friday, but major indexes remained on course for weekly gains.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 30 points, or 0.1%, to 22233 shortly after the opening bell. The S&P 500 fell less than 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite declined less than 0.1%.

Stocks returned to record territory this week, with the S&P 500, Dow industrials and Nasdaq Composite notching fresh closing highs together on Tuesday and Wednesday. Fears around worst-case scenarios for storm damage that had pressured stocks last week have largely subsided, investors and analysts say, helping drive stocks and government bond yields higher.

Stocks remained largely buoyant after the latest provocation from North Korea, which fired a missile over Japan for the second time in a month late Thursday.

"In general, and the markets have kind of figured this out, geopolitical events are fairly short lived. You have to be careful of them and they will create stress moments in the market, perhaps corrections, but they don't tend to last," said Matthew Peron, global head of equities for Northern Trust Asset Management.

But U.S. stocks' new records have come off relatively small moves, with some investors saying they see few reasons to extend bets ahead of several potential risks, including the negotiations over a potential Republican tax plan and next week's Federal Reserve meeting.

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While a series of muted inflation readings had left many investors skeptical the Fed would raise rates for a third time this year, data Thursday showing a rebound in U.S. consumer prices made some rethink their bets.

Federal-funds futures, used by investors to place bets on the Federal Reserve's rate-policy outlook, showed Thursday a roughly 53% chance of a rate increase by the end of the year, up from 31% a week ago, according to data from CME Group.

The stock rally could stall if the Fed moves toward normalizing monetary policy more aggressively than expected, investors and analysts say.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 edged down 0.4% and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell 1.2% after a homemade bomb exploded on a London subway train and injured at least 22 people. Police said they were treating the attack as an act of terrorism.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average added 0.5%, rising for the fourth time in five trading sessions.

The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.5%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up 0.1%.

Marina Force contributed to this article.

Write to Akane Otani at akane.otani@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 15, 2017 10:01 ET (14:01 GMT)