South Korean shares fall after Pyongyang missile launches

Posted at 9:12 PM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 23:12:18-04

South Korean shares fell in early trade on Thursday after North Korea launched two unidentified projectiles.

The Kospi index fell 0.8% after the country’s military said that Pyongyang had launched two projectiles toward the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan. The market losses came despite a stronger-than-expected rebound in South Korea’s economy in the second quarter.

GDP rose by 1.1% following a surprise contraction in the first three months of the year, according to data published Thursday.

“We expect GDP growth to remain moderate over the rest of the year amid heightened trade uncertainties, but recent monetary easing by the Bank of Korea will provide some support,” Oxford Economics said in a note.

South Korea missed out on modest gains across other Asian markets, which were drawing support from confirmation of new US-China trade talks and hopes of central bank stimulus.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will travel to Shanghai to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and other officials for trade talks starting on July 30, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.

Here are some of the other big moves on Asian markets at 10:30 a.m. Hong Kong time.

  • Samsung outperformed other Korean stocks, gaining 1% after the smartphone maker announced it would launch the delayed Galaxy Fold in some markets in September after making improvements to protect the screen.
  • Shares in Nissan fell 1.8% in Tokyo. The carmaker is due to post earnings later on Thursday. In a statement Wednesday, Nissan confirmed that a newspaper report of a 90% plunge in operating profit for the first quarter of its fiscal year was “broadly accurate.”
  • Tencent rose 1.4% in Hong Kong after the Chinese social media giant said it is working with Nintendo about launching its Switch consolein China soon.
  • Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.3%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.3%. Markets were helped by a record close for the S&P500 and Nasdaq, and expectations that the European Central Bank will signal further support for the economy at its meeting later Thursday.