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Global stocks higher as investors shrug off Korea tensions

Global stocks were higher Wednesday as investors hunted for bargains and shrugged off geopolitical tensions a day after North Korea fired a missile that flew over northern Japan.

KEEPING SCORE: European markets opened higher. Britain’s FTSE 100 advanced 0.4 percent to 7,363.12 in early trading and France’s CAC 40 was up 0.4 percent at 5,053.99. Germany’s DAX gained 0.6 percent to 12,014.66. Futures showed Wall Street was due to open with moderate gains. S&P futures rose 0.1 percent and Dow futures added 0.2 percent.

ASIA’S DAY: Asian markets finished mostly higher. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.7 percent to 19,506.54 and South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.3 percent to 2,372.29. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.2 percent to 28,094.61 while Shanghai Composite Index edged down 0.1 percent to 3,363.63. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was flat at 5,669.70. Stocks were higher in Taiwan and Singapore but lower in Indonesia.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Markets have made the judgment that the post-missile test reactions of the U.S., the U.N. and North Korea do not warrant a move to full ‘risk off’ mode in stock markets at this stage,” Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a commentary.

NORTH KOREA: Investors were not swayed by the latest developments in North Korea. Its leader, Kim Jong Un, called for more weapons launches targeting the Pacific Ocean to advance his country’s ability to contain Guam, a day after the North flew a ballistic missile over Japan. The missile launch jolted world markets when it took place Tuesday. U.S. President Donald Trump said North Korea had signaled its “contempt for its neighbors” and that “all options are on the table” in terms of a U.S. response. The U.N. Security Council strongly condemned the launch.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 26 cents to $46.18 per barrel in New York. The contract gave up 13 cents to close at $46.44 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 40 cents to $51.26 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.95 yen from 109.67 yen while the euro fell to $1.1965 from $1.1974.

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