TOKYO — Asian shares mostly slipped Friday on worries about the damage from Hurricane Irma in the U.S., as well as lingering fears about ballistic missile launches and nuclear weapons in North Korea.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slid 0.6 per cent to finish at 19,274.82, as GDP data that got revised lower also dampened sentiments. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.3 per cent to 5,672.60. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.1 per cent to 2,343.72. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added nearly 0.5 per cent to 27,657.87, while the Shanghai Composite was little changed, although a tad lower, at 3,365.24.
JAPAN ECONOMY: The Japanese economy grew at a slower pace in the April-June quarter, not the surprisingly strong spurt indicated by an earlier estimate, according to revised government data. The Cabinet Office said the gross domestic product or GDP — the total value of a nation’s goods and services — grew at an annualized rate of 2.5 per cent. That second preliminary reading is a dramatic adjustment from the first, released last month, of 4 per cent growth.
HURRICANE DAMAGE: U.S. insurance companies’ shares have plunged as investors weigh the prospects of big losses caused by Hurricane Irma, which has slammed the north Caribbean and is projected to reach Florida this weekend.
WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged down 0.44 points to 2,465.10. The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 22.86 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 21,784.78. The Nasdaq composite rose 4.55 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 6,397.87.
THE QUOTE: “Anxieties ahead of Saturday’s North Korea founders’ day and another potential missile launch appear to have kept investors off the South Korea and Japan bourses this morning. Meanwhile, the final figures from Japan’s Q2 GDP had also significantly dampened the Japanese market,” said Jingyi Pan, markets strategist at IG.
EUROPE ECONOMY: The European Central Bank left its key interest rates and bond-purchase stimulus program unchanged, but investors expect the bank to start reducing its stimulus program soon as the European economy continues to improve.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 8 cents to $49.01 a barrel. It fell 7 cents to $49.09 a barrel in New York Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 21 cents to $54.70 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar is falling after the European Central Bank raised its economic growth forecast for the region this year. The euro strengthened to $1.2063 from $1.1925. The dollar fell to 107.72 yen from 109.08 yen late Thursday.