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Wednesday October 18th, 2017 5:29AM

World stocks rally after North Korea refrains from launch

By The Associated Press
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HONG KONG (AP) — World stock markets rallied and the dollar strengthened Monday after Hurricane Irma weakened and North Korea marked a weekend holiday with celebrations but refrained from launching more missiles, easing geopolitical tensions.

KEEPING SCORE: European shares rose in early trading. France's CAC 40 surged 1.1 percent to 5,166.94 and Germany's DAX climbed 0.9 percent to 12,409.93. Britain's FTSE 100 advanced 0.6 percent to 7,418.74. Wall Street was poised to open higher. Dow futures gained 0.6 percent to 21,889.00 and broader S&P 500 futures added 0.5 percent to 5,164.07.

PYONGYANG PARTY: North Koreans observed the country's 69th founding anniversary with celebrations that included laying flowers and bowing at statues and portraits of past leaders. But Pyongyang did not carry out another test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, as South Korea's government had warned it might do. Attention now moves to the United Nations, where the United States has called for a vote later Monday on new sanctions.

STORMY WEATHER: Investors were waiting for damage assessments after Hurricane Irma battered Florida's coastline, knocking out power to millions and flooding the financial district in downtown Miami and toppling two construction cranes there. The storm was now headed for the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area, though in a weakened state. Irma was a Category 5 storm when it battered Cuba but weakened to Category 1 after hitting Florida.

MARKET INSIGHT: "This weekend was a case of the dog that didn't bark, or at least, not very loudly," said Rob Carnell, head of Asia research at ING. "North Korea did not launch a new missile, and Hurricane Irma was downgraded, though still looks like it will cause considerable damage, and mess up all the economic data for the next month or so."

WALL STREET: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.4 percent to close at 19,545.77 as the yen came off recent highs against the dollar, easing pressure on exporters. South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.7 percent to 2,359.08, Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1 percent to 27,955.49, and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China rose 0.3 percent to 3,376.42. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.7 percent to 5,713.10. Southeast Asian benchmarks rose but Taiwan's index lost ground.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened as the latest developments gave traders less reason to flee to the yen, traditionally considered a haven. The U.S. currency rose to 108.48 yen from 107.84 yen on Friday. The euro dipped to $1.2016 from $1.2038.

ENERGY: Oil futures were mixed. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 20 cents to $47.68 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract skidded $1.61, or 3.3 percent, to settle at $47.48 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 5 cents to $53.73 a barrel in London.

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