Global stocks mostly lower after NKorea launches missiles

Japan Financial Markets
A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, March 6, 2017. Shares were mixed in Asia early Monday following North Korea's launch of four ballistic missiles, three of which landed in Japan's 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone. Hong Kong's benchmark climbed 0.3 percent after the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress in Beijing. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO/March 6, 2017 (AP)(STL.News) — Global stocks mostly fell Monday following North Korea’s launch of missiles into seas near Japan, although Chinese share benchmarks rose on optimism about the economic outlook.

KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.4 percent to 4,973 while Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.3 percent to 7,350. Germany’s DAX fell 0.4 percent to 11,979, with Deutsche Bank leading the drop — its shares were down 6 percent after it said over the weekend that it was raising 8.5 billion euros in capital. U.S. shares were set to drift lower, with Dow futures down 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures down 0.3 percent.

NORTH KOREA: South Korean and Japanese officials said North Korea fired four banned ballistic missiles that flew about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before falling into seas off Japan, in an apparent reaction to huge military drills by Washington and Seoul that Pyongyang insists are a rehearsal for an invasion. It was not immediately clear what type of missile was fired. Japanese leaders see the launches into nearby waters as a growing threat.

CHINESE CONGRESS: In a weekend speech to the opening session of the national legislature, Premier Li Keqiang, China’s top economic official, trimmed the country’s growth target to 6.5 percent and warned of dangers from global pressure for trade controls. Li promised to cut surplus steel production that is straining trade relations with Washington and Europe and pledged equal treatment for foreign companies.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “As in previous years, maintaining economic and social stability appears to be a prime objective of the government in 2017. Economic and social stability are positive for China’s credit profile if they are achieved in a sustainable manner,” Marie Diron, an associate managing director at Moody’s Investor Service, said in a commentary.

CAR DEAL: Shares in French automaker PSA Group were up 3 percent after it struck a deal to buy the European business of General Motors. While the operations are lossmaking, they will expand PSA’s market share, making it the second-largest European car company behind Volkswagen. Analysts say it will have to trim costs, though it has committed to honoring current investment plans in plants and jobs.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.5 percent to finish at 19,379.14. The Kospi in South Korea was little changed, gaining 0.1 percent to 2,081.36. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.2 percent to 23,596.28 and the Shanghai Composite index advanced 0.5 percent to 3,233.87. Australia’s S&P ASX/200 rose 0.3 percent to 5,746.50. Shares in Taiwan rose while markets in Southeast Asia were mixed.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 38 cents to $52.95 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 72 cents on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 39 cents to $55.51 a barrel after adding 82 cents on Friday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 113.81 yen from 114.03 yen. The euro dropped to $1.0579 from $1.0623.

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YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer

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