Global shares mostly lower after NKorea launches missiles

Markets Associated Press

Global shares were mostly lower Monday following North Korea's launch of missiles into seas near Japan, although Chinese share benchmarks rose on optimism about the economic outlook.

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KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 slipped 0.4 percent to 4,976.50 in early trading, while Germany's DAX dipped 0.6 percent to 11,954.56. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.4 percent to 7,346.90. U.S. shares were set to drift lower, with Dow futures down 0.3 percent and S&P 500 futures down 0.5 percent.

NORTH KOREA: South Korean and Japanese officials said North Korea fired four banned ballistic missiles that flew about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before falling into seas off Japan, in an apparent reaction to huge military drills by Washington and Seoul that Pyongyang insists are a rehearsal for an invasion. It was not immediately clear what type of missile was fired. Japanese leaders see the launches into nearby waters as a growing threat.

CHINESE CONGRESS: In a weekend speech to the opening session of the national legislature, Premier Li Keqiang, China's top economic official, trimmed the country's growth target to 6.5 percent and warned of dangers from global pressure for trade controls. Li promised to cut surplus steel production that is straining trade relations with Washington and Europe and pledged equal treatment for foreign companies.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "As in previous years, maintaining economic and social stability appears to be a prime objective of the government in 2017. Economic and social stability are positive for China's credit profile if they are achieved in a sustainable manner," Marie Diron, an associate managing director at Moody's Investor Service, said in a commentary.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.5 percent to finish at 19,379.14. The Kospi in South Korea was little changed, gaining 0.1 percent to 2,081.36. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 0.2 percent to 23,596.28 and the Shanghai Composite index advanced 0.5 percent to 3,233.87. Australia's S&P ASX/200 rose 0.3 percent to 5,746.50. Shares in Taiwan rose while markets in Southeast Asia were mixed.

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ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 42 cents to $52.91 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 72 cents on Friday to $53.33 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 43 cents to $55.39 a barrel. It added 82 cents to close at $55.90 a barrel in London on Friday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 113.68 yen from 114.03 yen. The euro rose to $1.0625 from $1.0623.

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