Global stock markets mostly rose on Wednesday as the U.S. and North Korea indicated willingness to reduce nuclear tensions and investors looked ahead to minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting.
KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 rose 1.1 percent to 5,194 points and Germany’s DAX advanced 0.9 percent to 12,283. The FTSE 100 in London gained 0.7 percent to 7,432 after new data showed an encouraging rise in wage growth. On Wall Street, the futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and for the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were both up 0.2 percent.
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.
FED OUTLOOK: The Fed will later release the minutes to its last meeting, and investors will be looking for clues to how quickly the next rate increase might come. New York Fed Chairman William Dudley said earlier this week he would favor a third increase this year in the benchmark short-term rate. Some investors have been wondering whether that’s likely considering subdued inflation.
ASIA’S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.2 percent to 3,246.45 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 retreated 0.1 percent to 19,729.28. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.9 percent to 27,409.07 and Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.6 percent to 2,348.26. India’s Sensex picked up 0.6 percent to 31,651.82 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.5 percent to 5,785.10. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Manila and Jakarta gained while Taiwan, Singapore and Bangkok retreated.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 16 cents to $47.71 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 4 cents the day before. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 23 cents to $51.03 in London. It added 7 cents on Tuesday.
CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 110.83 yen from Tuesday’s 110.66 yen. The euro declined to $1.1712 from $1.1735. The pound, which fell sharply on Tuesday, edged up almost 0.1 percent against the dollar to $1.2871 after more upbeat figures on wage growth.