LONDON: World stock markets mostly rose on Tuesday (Sep 12) as concerns over North Korea and Hurricane Irma faded, but London dipped as strong inflation data sent the pound to a one-year dollar peak.
On Wall Street, stocks were higher ahead of a big Apple product launch and as worries about US hurricanes continued to recede.
Frankfurt and Paris equities also pushed higher as the North Korea crisis eased and dealers breathed a sigh of relief that Hurricane Irma caused less damage to Florida than initially feared.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was hobbled as official data showed Britain's 12-month inflation rate jumped to 2.9 per cent in August compared to 2.6 per cent in July.
In reaction, sterling jumped on hopes the Bank of England could lift its key interest rate sooner than expected, although it is not forecast to make any change at its policy meeting on Thursday.
NO NEWS, GOOD NEWS
The strong pound weighs on multinational companies that earn income abroad, and therefore tends to send their share prices sliding.
"Once again we find ourselves in a scenario in which no news is good news and while underlying risks remain, the longer we go without another nuclear or missile test, the more positive investors will become," said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.
"The only problem with this is that, with the UN having just agreed on new sanctions against North Korea - spearheaded by the US - I wonder how long we will have to wait for an act of provocation in response."
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said that "sterling's FTSE-damaging rise prevented the UK index from indulging in the same North Korea and Hurricane Irma-related relief that lifted the US markets last night and is continuing to work its magic on the eurozone bourses."
Eurozone indices were also partly buoyed by the weaker euro versus the pound.
"The effect has been to push the FTSE 100 into negative territory with London's main index stumbling, while across the channel eurozone stocks continue to find buyers," added Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.
TOKYO LEADS ASIA HIGHER
Tokyo stocks meanwhile led gains in Asia after yet another record performance on Wall Street.
The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Monday to step up sanctions against North Korea, having won the crucial support of Russia and China, while the US held out hope for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
The move provided a much-needed boost to investor sentiment after Pyongyang's Sep 3 nuclear test hammered markets last week and sent investors fleeing for the safe havens of gold and the yen.
Despite widespread speculation, North Korea did not mark its foundation day Saturday with another missile launch. This helped lift all three main New York indices more than one per cent on Monday, with the S&P 500 at a new record.
Eyes will now turn to the release of US inflation figures later in the week, which could provide some clues as to the Federal Reserve's plans for raising interest rates again this year. A weak run of data in recent months has led dealers to lower their expectations for any more tightening.
Key figures around 1540 GMT:
New York - DOW: UP 0.3 per cent at 22,129.03 points
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 per cent at 7,400.69 (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.4 per cent at 12,524.77 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.6 per cent at 5,209.01 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5 per cent at 3,512.56 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.2 per cent at 19,776.62 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.1 per cent at 27,972.24 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.1 per cent at 3,379.49 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at US$1.1966 from US$1.1939
Dollar/yen: FLAT at 110.04 yen
Pound/dollar: UP at US$1.3280 from US$1.3248
Oil - Brent North Sea: UP 50 cents at US$54.34 per barrel
Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 25 cents at US$48.32