News Worms
News Worms


Stocks climb as concerns ease over North Korea, Irma

Stocks climb as concerns ease over North Korea, Irma

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.

On Friday, US markets ended mixed and fairly subdued, with the Dow Jones Industrials adding just 13 points at 21,797, while the broader S&P 500 index and tech-laden Nasdaq both ended modestly lower as investors waited to see what impact Hurricane Irma will have on Florida.

After a robust start in Asian trading, equities moved higher in Europe and then on Wall Street.

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.

The euro eased to US$1.2020, having hit a top of US$1.2092 on Friday amid speculation the European Central Bank was closer to starting a wind-back of its stimulus programme. The index also posted its best session since March 1, when it rose 303 points.

The standoff between the US and North Korea and worries about the damage from hurricanes Harvey and Irma had weighed on the market in the last month. Powerful storm surges could also cause more devastating flooding across the state. Nonetheless, inflation was well below the government's full year target of around 3%.

With investors less anxious about Irma's impact, insurers Universal Insurance Holdings and HCI Group surged more than 12 per cent, while Heritage Insurance soared 21 per cent. Royal Caribbean Cruises jumped $4.02, or 3.4 percent, to $121.47 and American Airlines gained $1.55, or 3.4 percent, to $45.15. Home Depot dropped $2.05, or 1.3 percent, to $157.61 and Lowe's declined $1.09, or 1.4 percent, to $77.47.

The S&P 500 surged over 1 per cent to a record high close on Monday as tropical storm Irma caused less damage than expected in Florida, and after North Korea did not test-fire missiles over the weekend, which some had feared.

Gold, another traditional haven for money managers, fell 1.1%.

The most severe United Nations sanctions so far against North Korea, imposed just weeks ago, introduced a complete ban on coal and iron exports, blocked global sales of North Korean lead ore and seafood and imposed travel bans and asset freezes on individuals and companies. Apple, which will unveil its newest iPhone on Tuesday, rose $2.92, or 1.8 percent, to $161.55 and Facebook rose $2.33, or 1.4 percent, to $173.28.

The dollar hovered at ¥108.50, up from Friday's 10-month trough of ¥107.32. The euro slid to $1.1964 from $1.12028. South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.7 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1 percent. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index in Japan jumped 1.4 percent as the yen came off recent highs against the dollar, easing pressure on exporters.

US inflation data later this week is unlikely to show a significant pick up in price pressures with the August reading forecast to have risen 1.6 percent on an annual basis versus 1.7 percent in July.

USA crude was trading 36 cents firmer at 47.84 dollars a barrel, while Brent rose 22 cents to 56.00 dollars.

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