Dollar stabilises after selloff; focus on North Korea, Hurricane Irma

Surprise! Silver Stocks May Be the Biggest Beneficiaries of Gold's Recent Rally

If the USA does "rig up the illegal and unlawful "resolution" on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure the USA pays due price", said North Korea's foreign ministry via a statement published by the official KCNA news agency, according to AFP (https://www.yahoo.com/news/north-korea-warns-us-greatest-pain-over-fresh-201000211.html). Asian stocks rose strongly Monday after Hurricane Irma weakened and North Korea marked a weekend holiday with celebrations but refrained from launching more missiles, giving investors some relief. At current levels, major indexes are less than 1 percentage point from all-time highs.

Asian stock markets pushed higher in relief, with Tokyo gaining 1.4 percent. That helped bank stocks because rising yields mean banks can charge higher interest rates on loans.

The S&P 500 financial index.SPSY jumped 1.74 percent, with JPMorgan (JPM.N) up 2.18 percent and insurer Travelers (TRV.N) up 2.34 percent. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 50 points, or 0.8%, to 6,411.

The standoff between the USA and North Korea and worries about the damage from hurricanes Harvey and Irma had weighed on the market in the last month.

US stocks booked losses last week (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-street-stocks-set-for-losses-as-life-threatening-irma-aims-for-florida-2017-09-08) as investors fretted that Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday, would cause massive devastation. The S&P 500 fell nearly 0.8 percent from August 7, the day of its last record high, and Friday. "Millions of homes lost power but not as many as had been widely thought and while damages are likely to run into the billions, they are not likely to run anywhere near the more extreme pre-storm estimates".

HCI Group jumped $5, or 16.3 percent, to $35.78 while Heritage Insurance gained $2.22, or 23.7 percent, to $11.59.

There were also reports Beijing was planning to shut down local crypto-currency exchanges, dealing a blow to bitcoin's recent stellar rally. North Korea failed to conduct another missile test over the weekend, as some predicted might happen to mark the anniversary of the country's founding.

So far in 2017, the S&P 500 has risen 10 percent.

In commodity markets, gold softened 0.7 percent to $1,337.81 an ounce, away from a one-year peak of $1,357.54. Those companies tend to do better when bond yields are falling, as investors see them as an alternative to bonds due to their large dividend payments.

Carnival, a cruise line company, also saw its shares advance 2.2%. Apple, which will unveil its newest iPhone on Tuesday, rose $2.92, or 1.8 percent, to $161.55 and Facebook rose $2.33, or 1.4 percent, to $173.28.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 69 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $48.17 a barrel in NY while Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, added 5 cents to $53.83 a barrel in London.

In Europe, Germany's DAX was up 1.1 percent at 12,435 while the CAC 40 in France rose 1.1 percent to 5,167. The common currency reached $1.2092 on Friday, its highest since January 2015, as the dollar suffered a broad retreat.

The euro eased to $1.2020, having hit a top of $1.2092 on Friday amid speculation the European Central Bank was closer to starting a wind-back of its stimulus programme.

- The MSCI All-Country World Index climbed 0.8 percent to the highest on record. South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.7 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1 percent.

In foreign exchange, the European single currency was trading down at $1.1979 compared with $1.2030 late in NY on Friday.

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