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World Stocks Fall

World Stocks FallWorld Stocks Fall

World stocks were mostly lower on Friday after North Korea launched another missile and as central banks continued to point to tighter monetary policy in coming months.

Britain’s FTSE 100 was the biggest loser, falling 1.2% to 7,208 after the pound surged on expectations of interest rate increases soon. Germany’s DAX lost 0.1% to 12,531 and France’s CAC 40 edged 0.1% lower as well, to 5,220. Wall Street was poised to open lower. Dow and S&P 500 futures both crept 0.1% lower, AP reported.

The pound continued to surge, rising 1.3% to $1.3579, as Bank of England officials confirmed they expect to start raising interest rates for the first time in a decade in coming months.

Meanwhile, investors are also digesting US economic data as they await the Fed’s next move on rates. Data released Thursday showed US consumer prices rose in August at their fastest pace in seven months.

North Korea launched an intermediate-range missile that flew 3,700 kilometers, setting off alarms as it flew over Japan to land in the Pacific Ocean. The launch was the latest sign of Pyongyang’s willingness to defy international opinion as it moves closer to building up a military arsenal targeting US forces.

Asian markets fell in early trading but some regained their footing later, in a sign the initial shock for investors quickly wore off.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.5% to 19,835.30 as the dollar spiked lower after the launch but then staged a quick recovery, making shares of exporters more attractive. South Korea’s Kospi recouped initial losses to end 0.4% higher to 2,386.07. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.1% to 27,807.59 while the Shanghai Composite in mainland China shed 0.5% to 3,353.62. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 sank 0.8% to 5,695.00. Taiwan’s benchmark rose and Southeast Asian shares were mostly higher.

Oil pushed up further from a seven-week high. Benchmark US crude futures gains 1 cent to $49.90 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 59 cents to settle at $49.89 a barrel Thursday, the highest closing price since the end of July. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 8 cents to $55.55 barrel in London.

The dollar slumped against the yen immediately after news of the North Korea launch but recovered quickly and rose to 111.24 yen, the highest level since late July. The euro strengthened to $1.195 from $1.192.

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