HONG KONG— World stocks were mixed Friday as investors shrugged off North Korea’s latest missile launch but remained wary of risk ahead of next week’s Fed meeting, which could provide fresh hints on interest rate policy.
KEEPING SCORE: European shares were uneven in early trading. Britain’s FTSE 100 shed 0.4 per cent to 7,266.33 and Germany’s DAX lost 0.1 per cent to 12,533.74, but France’s CAC 40 edged 0.1 per cent higher to 5,226.01. Wall Street was poised to open lower. Dow futures edged down 0.1 per cent to 22,161.00 and broader S&P 500 futures crept 0.1 per cent lower to 2,491.20.
MISSILE TENSIONS: North Korea launched an intermediate-range missile that flew 3,700 kilometres (2,300 miles), setting off alarms as it flew over Japan to land in the Pacific Ocean. The launch was the latest sign of Pyongyang’s willingness to defy international opinion as it moves closer to building up a military arsenal targeting U.S. forces. Asian markets fell in early trading but some regained their footing later, in a sign the initial shock for investors quickly wore off.
TRADER TALK: “Another day, another missile from North Korea,” said Rob Carnell, ING’s head of Asia research. “It would be wrong to say that markets are not taking any notice, but the relatively muted responses of the Japanese yen and Korean won, and risk assets globally, suggest that a sense of fatigue on this belligerence is creeping in.”
FED WATCH: Investors were also digesting the first of a batch of U.S. economic data as they await the Fed’s next move on interest rates. Data released Thursday showed U.S. consumer prices rose in August at their fastest pace in seven months, a possible sign inflation is picking up pace. Industrial production and retail sales figures are due Friday, which could provide more hints on whether the Fed, which holds a scheduled two-day meeting wrapping up Wednesday, will remain on track to raise rates by the end of the year.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.5 per cent to 19,835.30 as the dollar spiked lower after the launch but then staged a quick recovery, making shares of exporters more attractive. South Korea’s Kospi recouped initial losses to end 0.4 per cent higher to 2,386.07. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.1 per cent to 27,807.59 while the Shanghai Composite in mainland China shed 0.5 per cent to 3,353.62. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 sank 0.8 per cent to 5,695.00. Taiwan’s benchmark rose and Southeast Asian shares were mostly higher.
ENERGY: Oil fell from a seven-week high. Benchmark U.S. crude futures slipped 46 cents to $49.43 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 59 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to settle at $49.89 a barrel Thursday, the highest closing price since the end of July. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 36 cents to $55.11 barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slumped against the yen immediately after news of the launch but recovered quickly and rose to 110.67 yen, the highest level since mid-August. The euro strengthened to $1.1924 from $1.1919.