Asia Shares Mixed With Korean Peninsula Tensions Eyed


Asian shares traded mixed on Monday with geopolitical tensions on the boils as the U.S. moved an aircraft carrier group closer to the Korean peninsula and concerns linger over a missile strike on a Syrian airbase last week.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.65%, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.58%. But miner Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) fell 0.64% after it was ordered to pay an extra $284 million with interest due to its operations in tax-friendly destinations.

But South Korea's Kospi fell 0.52% with China-exposed stocks pressured following heightened tensions in the Korean Peninsula. Shares for Lotte Shopping, the retail arm of conglomerate Lotte, fell by 1.59%.

But LG Display, LG Corporation's LCD manufacturing arm, jumped 1.17% to KRW30,200 on a reported offer from Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) to invest a minimum of $1 trillion won ($880 million) in screen production.

The Shanghai Composite declined 0.21%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dipped 0.15%.

Last week, U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday, after increased geopolitical concerns amid US air strikes against Syria and weaker than expected nonfarm payrolls data weighed on sentiment.

Equities started the session on the back foot, as investors fled risk assets, after the United States launched cruise missiles against Syria, while investors mulled over a disappointing Nonfarm payrolls figure for March.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, Nonfarm payrolls grew by just 98,000 in March, well below expectations of 180,000, but the unemployment rate fell to a 10-year low of 4.5%.

U.S. equities reacted positively, albeit briefly, to comments from New York Fed President William Dudley, after he said Friday, the U.S should consider small adjustments to the Dodd-Frank law that toughened rules and oversight for financial institutions.

Meanwhile, the final day of a two-day summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping remained front and center, as a number of sensitive topics are expected to be discussed including North Korea and trade.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.03% lower at 20,656. The S&P 500 lost 0.08% and the Nasdaq Composite closed 0.02% lower at 5877.81.

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