BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed Wednesday after U.S. indexes took small losses as Washington and North Korea indicated their willingness to reduce nuclear tensions.
KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4 percent to 3,239.30 points and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was unchanged at 19,753.70. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.5 percent to 27,309.20 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.2 percent to 5,745.20. Seoul's Kospi advanced 0.6 percent and benchmarks in New Zealand, Malaysia and Jakarta also rose. Taiwan, Singapore and Manila retreated.
WALL STREET: U.S. indexes took small losses as weak results from sporting goods and auto parts retailers left smaller companies with steep declines. Dick's Sporting Goods and Advance Auto Parts both disclosed disappointing second-quarter results and cut their annual forecasts. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost less than 0.1 percent to 2,464.61. The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 5.28 points to 21,998.99. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.1 percent to 6,333.01.
NORTH KOREA: North Korea's military presented leader Kim Jong Un with plans to launch missiles into waters near Guam even as both Koreas and the United States suggested a path toward negotiations to ease nuclear tensions. Kim said he would watch U.S. conduct a little more before deciding whether to order the missile test. Kim's tone hinted the friction could ease if the U.S. offered a gesture Pyongyang sees as a step back from "reckless actions." South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged North Korea to commit to talks. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, said Washington wants to resolve tensions peacefully but is ready to use its military capabilities.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "The impact of geopolitical tensions on the stock markets has proven once again to be impulsive and short lived. Global equities switched back to 'risk-on' mode, with investors taking their cues from Washington claiming to pursue a political resolution of the North Korea threat," said Margaret Yang Yan of CMC in a report. She noted stronger month-on-month retail sales growth and rising expectations of a December interest rate hike. "Investors are taking advantage of the technical pullback as re-entry opportunities are resulting in a relief rebound in risky assets, and a retracing in safe-haven assets."
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 19 cents to $47.74 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 4 cents on Tuesday to close at $47.55. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 24 cents to $51.04 in London. It added 7 cents on Tuesday to close at $50.80.
CURRENCY: The edged up to 110.67 yen from Tuesday's 110.66 yen. The euro was little-changed at $1.1737.