asian markets brush off north korean missile launch
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Asian markets brush off North Korean missile launch

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Asian markets brush off North Korean missile launch

South Korea's Kospi index is heading for a fresh record
Tokyo - AFP

Stock markets in Japan and South Korea rose Monday morning as investors brushed off Pyongyang's missile launch, and after record gains on overseas bourses.

The short-range projectile flew for several minutes before landing in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) -- the latest in a series of launches that have ratcheted up tensions over the North's bid to develop weapons capable of hitting the United States.

The political reaction in Asia was swift as Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the Monday launch and vowed "concrete action" with the US.

South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-In, ordered a meeting of the national security council to assess the provocation. 

Both Japan and South Korea are the most immediately threatened by Pyongyang's provocations.

But most Asia-Pacific stock markets took the launch in their stride, with Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index ending the morning session 0.16 percent higher.

South Korea's Kospi index was heading for a fresh record, trading 0.41 percent higher, while Hong Kong ticked up 0.06 percent and Sydney slipped 0.36 percent.

Financial markets in mainland China and Taiwan are closed on Monday for a public holiday.

Oil prices have stabilised after plunging last week when investors reacted negatively to an OPEC decision leaving crude production limits unchanged.

Fresh economic data Friday showed the US economy was stronger in the first quarter than first reported. 

"The US economy is steady, and the equity market is getting support from the view that even if growth slows down, it won't crumble," Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute, told Bloomberg News.

The major Wall Street indices finished Friday's session essentially flat ahead of a three-day holiday weekend in the United States.

But US stocks nevertheless held onto gains won after a six-day rally -- meaning the hair's-breadth rise was all that was necessary to see the Nasdaq and S&P 500 break Thursday's all-time highs.

Meanwhile in London, stocks hit record highs after the pound took a beating on an opinion poll surprise two weeks before Britain's general election.

It showed the opposition Labour Party just five points behind the ruling Conservatives before a June 8 general election.

That raised concerns the government's victory might not be as big as expected, which could weaken its hand in Brexit talks. 

- Key figures around 0300 GMT -

 

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.16 percent at 19,717.56 (break)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.06 percent at 25,654.16

Shanghai - Composite: closed for holiday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1168 from $1.1177

Dollar/yen: UP at 111.33 yen from 111.32 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2820 from $1.2808

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 11 cents at $52.04 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 13 cents at $49.67

New York - Dow: FLAT at 21,080.28 (Friday close) 

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 7,547.63 points (Friday close)

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