Asian Shares Retreat After North Korea Nuclear Test

Most Asian stocks fell on Monday as geopolitical tensions intensified and investors awaited a plethora of Chinese data scheduled for this week.

North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday, detonating what it said was a hydrogen bomb meant for intercontinental ballistic missile. The quake caused by the test was 9.8 times more powerful than its previous test.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to increase economic sanctions and cut off trade with any nation doing business with North Korea.

Chinese shares hit fresh 20-month highs as optimism about the economy helped investors shrug off heightened geopolitical tensions.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index edged up 12.46 points or 0.37 percent to 3,379.58 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 190 points or 0.68 percent at 27,763 in late trade.

Japanese shares fell amid broad-based selling as the yen remained elevated amid renewed geopolitical tensions and after the release of disappointing U.S. jobs report.

The Nikkei average slipped from Friday’s two-week high to end down 183.22 points or 0.93 percent at 19,508.25. The broader Topix index closed 0.99 percent lower at 1,603.55.

Sompo Holdings shares bucked the downward trend to end 3.6 percent higher after the casualty insurer agreed to sell Lloyd’s re/insurer Sompo Canopius AG to a private equity consortium.

Australian shares lost ground as investors fretted over rising geopolitical risks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 22.60 points or 0.39 percent to 5,702 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 22.30 points or 0.39 percent at 5,763.80.

Common Wealth Bank shares declined 1.4 percent after the bank announced a shake-up of its board in the wake of a money laundering scandal. The other three banks fell between 0.2 percent and 0.6 percent.

Energy stocks posted modest losses as oil prices turned volatile after posting a fifth-straight week loss on worries about the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

Gold miners Northern Star, Evolution and Regis Resources rose over 1 percent each as gold prices hit a 10-month high after the North Korean nuclear test and amid economic policy uncertainty in the U.S.

Seoul shares hit multi-week lows as geopolitical risks escalated again in the Korean peninsula. The Kospi average tumbled 28.04 points or 1.19 percent to 2,329.65, its weakest closing level in three weeks.

South Korea’s defense ministry announced today that it would temporarily deploy four more launchers for a U.S….

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