A man walks past an electronic board showing Japan's Nikkei average outside a brokerage at a business district in Tokyo, Japan, August 29, 2017.   REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Japan's Nikkei rose on Wednesday as fears over North Korea's missile launch eased. Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

Asia stocks gain and dollar rebounds as North Korea fears subside



The dollar rebounded from a 2-1/2-year low on Wednesday, and Asian stocks took their cue from Wall Street's higher close, as concerns about North Korea's firing of a missile over Japan ebbed.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major peers, edged up 0.1 per cent to 92.317.

The dollar rose 0.1 per cent to 109.8 yen. On Tuesday, after slumping to a 4-1/2-month low versus the safe haven currency, the greenback closed up 0.5 per cent.

The yen tends to benefit during times of geo-political or financial stress as Japan is the world's biggest creditor nation and there is an assumption that Japanese investors will repatriate funds in a crisis.

The dollar was also little changed against the safe haven Swiss franc, buying 0.9552 francs on Wednesday, after hitting its lowest since August 2015 in the previous session.

"Calmer heads have prevailed once again in financial markets, with traders seemingly happy to cover short positions and add a touch of risk into their portfolio," said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne.

The South Korean won strengthened 0.4 per cent, with the dollar buying 1,121.9 won, recovering some of Tuesday's 0.6 per cent slide.

The United Nations, in a statement drafted by the United States, condemned the test but held back on any threat of new sanctions on the isolated state.

Markets seemed to be dismissing North Korea's statement on Wednesday that the test was a first step in military action in the Pacific to "contain" the US territory of Guam.

Reports of the launch by North Korean media were lacking the usual boasts of technical advances, indicating the test may not have accomplished its intended goals.

Currency traders are now looking to US non-farm payrolls data for August, due on Friday, following data that showed US consumer confidence surged to a five-month high in August as the labour market improved and house prices rose.

"The market tone markedly improved as traders adopted a 'this too shall pass' attitude," said Stephen Innes, head of Asia Pacific trading at OANDA in Singapore.

"A boisterous US consumer confidence number, coupled with a much tamer response than anticipated from President Trump may explain part of the reversal."

US 10-year Treasury yields were at 2.1484 per cent on Wednesday, after touching a 9-1/2-month low of 2.086 per cent on Tuesday.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 0.35 per cent.

South Korea's KOSPI share index rose 0.1 per cent, while Australian shares were little changed.

Japan's Nikkei rose 0.55 per cent.

Japanese retail sales growth slowed in July but still grew for a ninth consecutive month, suggesting the underlying trend for consumption remains healthy.

However, household spending unexpectedly fell in July, injecting some caution into the debate about whether domestic demand can continue to drive growth.

Chinese blue chips added 0.2 per cent, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.7 per cent.

In commodities, gasoline hit a near-two-year high after Hurricane Harvey shut down nearly a fifth of U.S refining capacity, and more closures are expected.

US gasoline futures rose 3.1 per cent to US$1.8378, bringing gains this week to 10.3 per cent.

The rise in crude inventories as a result of refinery shutdowns, however, weighed on oil prices.

US crude futures fell 0.2 per cent to $46.34 a barrel, after touching a five-week low on Tuesday.

Global benchmark Brent slipped 0.2 per cent to $51.88.

Spot gold inched up 0.2 per cent to $1,313.10 an ounce on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the precious metal jumped to its highest since Trump was elected US president, before closing flat.

(Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Editing by Kim Coghill and Jacqueline Wong)

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
The specs: 2018 Renault Koleos

Price, base: From Dh77,900
Engine: 2.5L, in-line four-cylinder
Transmission: Continuously variable transmission
Power: 170hp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 233Nm @ 4,000rpm
Fuel economy, combined: 8.3L / 100km

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

SPECS

Engine: Supercharged 3.5-litre V6
Power: 400hp
Torque: 430Nm
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Price: From Dh450,000

Know your cyber adversaries

Cryptojacking: Compromises a device or network to mine cryptocurrencies without an organisation's knowledge.

Distributed denial-of-service: Floods systems, servers or networks with information, effectively blocking them.

Man-in-the-middle attack: Intercepts two-way communication to obtain information, spy on participants or alter the outcome.

Malware: Installs itself in a network when a user clicks on a compromised link or email attachment.

Phishing: Aims to secure personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

Ransomware: Encrypts user data, denying access and demands a payment to decrypt it.

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Trojans: Create a backdoor into systems, which becomes a point of entry for an attack.

Viruses: Infect applications in a system and replicate themselves as they go, just like their biological counterparts.

Worms: Send copies of themselves to other users or contacts. They don't attack the system, but they overload it.

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A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

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Rating: 4/5

The specs: 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Price, base / as tested: Dh101,140 / Dh113,800


Engine: Turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder


Power: 148hp @ 5,500rpm


Torque: 250Nm @ 2,000rpm


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Fuel consumption, combined: 7.0L / 100km

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends


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