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Sunday December 17th, 2017 2:40PM

Asian stocks slump on profit-taking amid US-NKorea tensions

By The Associated Press
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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets slumped Friday following overnight losses on Wall Street, as President Donald Trump's bellicose remarks on North Korea prompted investors to unload shares in companies that have been on the rise.

KEEPING SCORE: South Korea's Kospi sank 1.7 percent to 2,319.83 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.8 percent to 26,946.81. Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 1.9 percent to 3,201.45. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.2 percent to 5,693.10. Stocks in Taiwan, Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries were also lower. Japan was closed on a public holiday.

FIRE AND FURY: Keeping up his tough talk, Trump told reporters that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's government should "get their act together" or face extraordinary trouble, and suggested his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea was too mild. The remarks, following North Korea's earlier revelation of a plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, gave investors a reason to pocket profit in the sectors such as technology that have been the biggest gainers in recent months, analysts said.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "The tensions between North Korea and the U.S. is an excuse for profit-taking," Seo Sang Young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. "Had investors believed a real war was on the horizon, all sectors would have declined." He added that in China, the U.S. and South Korea, stocks that are showing the biggest declines since the rise of tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are the companies that have risen most since June.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday led by technology companies. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 1.4 percent to 2,438.21. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 0.9 percent to 21,844.01. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite lost 2.1 percent to 6,216.87. The Russell 2000 index gave up 1.7 percent to 1,372.54.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 36 cents to $48.23 per barrel on the on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 97 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $48.59 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 29 cents to $51.61 per barrel in London. It slid 80 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $51.90 per barrel on Thursday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.24 yen from 109.20 while the euro weakened to $1.1756 from $1.1773.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets
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