World stock markets rise an easing in tensions over North Korea as Irma weakness

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Shares in Asia continued their ascent on Tuesday, following a firm lead from Wall Street as concerns faded over the potential damage of Hurricane Irma caused less damage to Florida than feared and as Korean Peninsula tensions took a backseat.

The UN Security Council voted generally Monday to step up sanctions against North Korea, having won the crucial support of Russia and China, while the US held out hope for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

The North did not mark its foundation day Saturday with another missile launch. This helped lift all three main New York indexes more than one percent Monday, with the S&P 500 at a new record.

Jefferies chief global strategist Sean Darby told Bloomberg Television,”What road seems to be travelled now is one of negotiation rather than provocation.

There has been a reversal of the tactics over the last week and I think that’s what the markets are seeing.”

Most of Asia followed New York’s example, with a sharply weaker yen a plus for Japan’s exporters. The dollar was at 109.56 yen compared with the 10-month lows around 107.30 yen last week.

The Nikkei ended up 1.2 percent a one month high while Shanghai added 0.1 percent and Sydney gained 0.6 percent. Seoul ticked up 0.3 percent while Taipei and Singapore were also higher. Manila was closed owing to flooding from a major storm.

Hong Kong added 0.1 percent following strong gains over the previous two sessions.

European trade London rose 0.1 percent, Paris put on 0.3 percent and Frankfurt gained 0.5 percent.

Analysts said that while Irma was still deadly, the fact that it struck the west coast of Florida instead of cutting through the spine of the state meant billions of dollars less damage.

That provided extra support to the dollar, which also made some inroads against the euro as speculation swirled that some members of the European Central Bank favor a slow wind-down of its stimulus schedule.

The single currency was back below $1.20, having broken the marker last week for the first time since the start of January 2015.

Eyes will now go round to the release of US inflation figures later in the week, which could provide some clues as to the Federal Reserve’s plans for raising interest rates again this year. A weak run of data in recent months has led dealers to lower their expectations for any more tightening.

Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, said there were hopes on trading floors that President Donald Trump’s decision to work with Democrats to lift the debt ceiling this month could provide hope for his economic agenda.

“The new paradigm in Washington which might be emerging between President Trump and the Democrats might have rekindled hopes that the Trump agenda for the economy isn’t dead,” he added.

– Key figures around 0820 GMT

 

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.2 percent at 19,776.62 (close)

 

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.1 percent at 27,972.24 (close)

 

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,379.49 (close)

 

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,419.50

 

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1970 from $1.2000 at 2050 GMT

 

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.56 yen from 109.47 yen

 

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3187 from $1.3168

 

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN three cents at $48.04 per barrel

 

Oil – Brent North Sea: DOWN six cents at $53.78 per barrel

 

New York – DOW: UP 1.2 percent at 22,057.37 (close)

 

Source: AFP

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