Asian shares rose Wednesday, reversing early losses as investors shrugged off concerns over the implications of North Korea’s long-range missile launch a day earlier. Trading was thin due to the U.S. Independence Day holiday.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.3 percent to 20,081.63 and South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3 percent to 2,388.53. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent to 25,490.35 and the Shanghai Composite index in mainland China jumped 0.7 percent to 3,205.10. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4 percent to 5,763.30, paring back gains ahead of the central bank’s decision to stand pat on interest rates. Taiwan’s benchmark gained and indexes in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.
NORTH KOREAN MISSILE: A day after Pyongyang successfully test fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile, North Korean state media boasted about the accomplishment. Washington confirmed it was an ICBM, with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying that ”global action is required to stop a global threat.” The U.S. and ally South Korea scrambled to respond to the test, firing ”deep strike” precision missiles into South Korean waters. The United Nations Security Council was set to hold an emergency meeting.
WORLD SUMMIT: Investors are also looking ahead to the end of the week when leaders from the Group of 20 developed nations will meet in Hamburg, Germany. Countries are expected to put forth competing visions of world trade when the summit begins Friday, with U.S. President Donald Trump’s ”America First” colliding with the European Union’s push for broad trade deals like the one with Japan.
GLOBAL ECONOMY: Business activity in China slowed last month to its weakest pace in a year, mainly due to weakness in the service sector, according to the Caixin/Markit composite purchasing managers’ index. For more clues on the state of the world economy, markets will be watching for the release of minutes from the Fed’s Open Market Committee after U.S. markets open, followed Thursday by minutes of the European Central’s policy meeting. Friday will bring U.S. monthly payrolls.
MARKET VIEW: ”While North Korea’s military ambitions are a background threat for markets, we don’t think that this particular geopolitical event is at the stage yet where it will cause a spike in volatility,” said Kathleen Brooks of City Index. ”Far more important at this stage of the economic cycle is what global central bankers will do next.”
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was flat at $47.07 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 1 cents to $49.60 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar was unchanged at 113.28 yen, while the euro rose to 1.1356 from $1.1348.