Stocks mixed in Asia; Europe up in early trading

BEIJING — Global stock markets were mostly higher Wednesday after U.S. indexes took small losses as Washington and North Korea indicated willingness to reduce nuclear tensions.

KEEPING SCORE: In early trading, France’s CAC 40 rose 1.1 per cent to 5,194.39 points and Germany’s DAX advanced 0.9 per cent to 12,282.36. The FTSE 100 in London gained 0.7 per cent to 7,438.16. On Tuesday, the CAC 40 and the FTSE 100 each gained 0.4 per cent while the DAX added 0.1 per cent. On Wall Street, the future for the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3 per cent and that for the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 0.2 per cent.

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ASIA’S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.2 per cent to 3,246.45 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 retreated 0.1 per cent to 19,729.28. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.9 per cent to 27,409.07 and Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.6 per cent to 2,348.26. India’s Sensex picked up 0.6 per cent to 31,651.82 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.5 per cent to 5,785.10. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Manila and Jakarta gained while Taiwan, Singapore and Bangkok retreated.

NORTH KOREA: North Korea’s military presented leader Kim Jong Un with plans to launch missiles into waters near Guam even as both Koreas and the United States suggested a path toward negotiations to ease nuclear tensions. Kim said he would watch U.S. conduct a little more before deciding whether to order the missile test. Kim’s tone hinted the friction could ease if the U.S. offered a gesture Pyongyang sees as a step back from “reckless actions.” South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged North Korea to commit to talks. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, said Washington wants to resolve tensions peacefully but is ready to use its military capabilities.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “The impact of geopolitical tensions on the stock markets has proven once again to be impulsive and short lived. Global equities switched back to ’risk-on’ mode, with investors taking their cues from Washington claiming to pursue a political resolution of the North Korea threat,” said Margaret Yang Yan of CMC in a report. She noted stronger month-on-month retail sales growth and rising expectations of a December interest rate hike. “Investors are taking advantage of the technical pullback as re-entry opportunities are resulting in a relief rebound in risky assets, and a retracing in safe-haven assets.”

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 25 cents to $47.80 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 4 cents on Tuesday to close at $47.55. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 37 cents to $51.17 in London. It added 7 cents on Tuesday to close at $50.80.

CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 110.89 yen from Tuesday’s 110.66 yen. The euro declined to $1.1732 from $1.1735.

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