Stocks set records as Irma, Korea worries fade

Stocks set records as Irma, Korea worries fade”

MARKET INSIGHT: "Traders have started the new week hungry for risk, pushing equities and base metals higher on reduced concerns about North Korea and Hurricane Irma", said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

Honda Motor and Toyota Motor rose 1.6 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Mizuho Financial and Nomura Holdings rallied 1-2 percent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 40.50 points or 0.71 percent to 5,713.10 while the broader All Ordinaries index finished 35.70 points or 0.62 percent higher at 5,775.10.

Investors were relieved as Irma, which is still deluging Florida and Georgia, didn't appear to be as bad as it did in projections last week. Irma was a Category 5 storm when it battered Cuba but weakened to Category 1 after hitting Florida. The benchmark Kospi inched up 15.36 points or 0.66 percent to 2,359.08, with heavyweight Samsung Electronics closing 1.5 percent higher at 2,490,000 won. While heavy flooding swamped many cities, including Miami, and millions were left without power, the state's largest city was spared the brunt of the storm.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 157.28 points, or 0.72 percent, to 21,955.07.

HCI Group jumped $5.28, or 17.2 percent, to $36.05 while Heritage Insurance gained $2.14, or 22.8 percent, to $11.51.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was on track for a new high. The Nasdaq composite jumped 72.07 points, or 1.1 percent, to 6,432.26, three points below the record closing high it set September 1.

Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was moving up 0.3 percent, India's Sensex was rising 0.7 percent and Singapore's Straits Times index was up 0.1 percent while the Taiwan Weighted declined 0.4 percent.

The relief over North Korea and a weaker yen helped the Tokyo stock market to its best session since June.

"This is what happens when the market sells off in the face of what is really an awfully good fundamental environment", said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist for the Leuthold Group.

Stocks set records as Irma, Korea worries fade

"That's a huge stimulative force", he said.

Tensions between the USA and North Korea have been on investors' minds recently, and on Monday global markets advanced as the situation didn't get any worse.

Germany's benchmark 10-year bond yield pulled further away from recent 2-1/2 month lows and yields on benchmark U.S. Treasury debt rose from 10-month lows.

US inflation data later this week is unlikely to show a significant pick up in price pressures with the August reading forecast to have risen 1.6 percent on an annual basis versus 1.7 percent in July.

The single currency fell below $1.20 after his comments to a low of $1.1935 before recovering partially.

Oil prices rose as the upward pressure from USA refinery restarts and Saudi talks to extend production cuts outweighed demand fears driven by Irma's continued pounding of Florida.

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih met his Venezuelan and Kazakh counterparts at the weekend to discuss an extension of the deal by at least three months, the Saudi energy ministry said.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 59 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $48.07 a barrel in NY while Brent crude, used to price global oils, added 6 cents to $53.84 a barrel in London. US gold futures fell about 1.3 percent to settle at $1,335.70 an ounce.

Spot gold dropped 1.4 percent to $1,327.40 an ounce.

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