Shares were mixed in Asia early Monday following North Korea's launch of four ballistic missiles, three of which landed in Japan's 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone. Hong Kong's benchmark climbed 0.3 percent after the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress in Beijing.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index fell 0.5 percent to 19,366.67 as top officials blasted North Korea over the missile launches.The Kospi in South Korea lost 0.2 percent to 2,075.42. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 0.3 percent to 23,615.73 and the Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1 percent higher to 3,222.52. Australia's S&P ASX/200 rose 0.2 percent to 5,740.50. Shares in Taiwan also rose.
NORTH KOREA: South Korean and Japanese officials said North Korea fired four banned ballistic missiles that flew about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), in an apparent reaction to huge military drills by Washington and Seoul that Pyongyang insists are an invasion rehearsal. It was not immediately clear what type of missile was fired.
CHINESE CONGRESS: In a speech to the national legislature, Premier Li Keqiang, China's top economic official, trimmed the country's growth target to 6.5 percent and warned of dangers from global pressure for trade controls as Beijing tries to build a consumer-driven economy and reduce reliance on exports and investment. Li promised more steps to cut surplus steel production that is straining trade relations with Washington and Europe and pledged equal treatment for foreign companies, apparently responding to complaints Beijing is trying to squeeze them out of technology and other promising markets.
WALL STREET: Banks and health care stocks climbed Friday as investors priced in an increasing likelihood that interest rates will rise in the coming months. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen helped stoke those expectations in a speech in which she said an improving job market and rising inflation would likely prompt the central bank to increase borrowing costs. The Dow Jones industrial average was barely changed at 21,005.71. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 0.1 percent to 2,383.12 and the Nasdaq composite index rose 0.2 percent to 5,870.75. The slight gains left the stock market hovering near its latest record highs set on Wednesday.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 20 cents to $53.13 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 72 cents on Friday to $53.33 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 14 cents to $55.76 a barrel. It added 82 cents to close at $55.90 a barrel in London on Friday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 113.85 yen from 114.03 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0610 from $1.0623.