Asia shares mixed after North Korea's latest missile launch
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.6 percent to 19,835.30 as the dollar rebounded against the yen, making shares of exporters more attractive. South Korea's Kospi recouped initial losses to edge 0.1 percent higher to 2,380.84. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was flat at 27,773.79 while the Shanghai Composite in mainland China shed 0.6 percent to 3,350.09. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 sank 0.7 percent to 5,698.00. Taiwan's benchmark rose and Southeast Asian shares were mostly lower.
North Korea launched an intermediate-range missile that flew 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles), 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 U.S. forces. Markets fell in early trading but some regained their footing later, in a sign the initial shock for investors quickly wore off.
"Another day, another missile from North Korea," said Rob Carnell, ING's head of Asia research. "It would be wrong to say that markets are not taking any notice, but the relatively muted responses of the Japanese yen and Korean won and risk assets globally, suggest that a sense of fatigue on this belligerence is creeping in."
Investors were also digesting the first of a batch of U.S. economic data as they await the Fed's next move on interest rates. Data released Thursday showed U.S. consumer prices rose in August at their fastest pace in seven months, a possible sign inflation is picking up pace. Industrial production and retail sales figures are due Friday, which could provide more hints on whether the Fed, which meets next week, will remain on track to raise rates by the end of the year.