Asian stocks mixed amid Korea jitters
Posted September 5
BEIJING — Stocks in Tokyo and South Korea declined for a second day Tuesday while Chinese shares advanced as South Korean warships carried out military exercises amid jitters over North Korea's weekend nuclear test explosion.
KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.6 percent to 19,393.47 and Seoul's Kospi lost 0.3 percent to 2,322.16. The Shanghai Composite Exchange rose 0.2 percent to 3,385.92 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2 percent to 27,804.94. India's Sensex advanced 0.3 percent to 31,804.81 and benchmarks in Taiwan and Singapore also gained. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was unchanged at 5,697.50 while New Zealand, Bangkok and Jakarta declined.
NORTH KOREA: South Korean warships conducted live-fire exercises at sea following U.S. warnings of a "massive military response" after North Korea's biggest nuclear test to date. The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting and American Ambassador Nikki Haley said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is "begging for war."
ANALYST'S TAKE: "The rhetoric on North Korea has stepped up a gear, or maybe two," said Rob Carnell of ING in a report. "Markets are not as panicky as you might expect against this background, though the direction is as one would expect." Carnell noted news reports that Japan plans to evacuate its citizens from South Korea if U.S. military action appeared likely. "So packed planes from Seoul heading to Tokyo might be our first clue that a U.S. strike is coming," he said.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 12 cents to $47.41 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 6 cents on Monday to close at $47.29. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 22 cents to $52.12 in London. It fell 41 cents the previous session to $52.34.
CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 109.33 yen from Monday's 109.72 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1905 from $1.1897.