Tech, Insurers Lead Wall Street Rally As Irma, North Korea Fears Ease

Asian stock indices mixed

In a typical risk-on move, the U.S. dollar strengthened by 1.03% verus the yen to 108.94 with the December gold contract on COMEX off by 0.86% at $1,339.50/oz.

The dollar index, a measure of the U.S. currency against a weighted basket of peers, rose 0.3 per cent as concerns that Hurricane Irma would hit Florida with the force of a Category 5 hurricane dissipated after it made landfall as a Category 4 storm. That relieved investors, especially in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, whose devastation is estimated to dent third-quarter economic growth.

Asian stock markets pushed higher as traders breathed a sigh of relief that Pyongyang did not fire another missile on Saturday, choosing instead to mark its foundation day with a parade.

US stock-index benchmarks jump on Monday, as Hurricane Irma hit Florida with less force than expected and North Korea failed to conduct another nuclear missile test over the weekend, helping to lure investors into buying assets perceived as risky like equities. The Nasdaq composite jumped 57 points, or 0.9 percent, to 6,417.

The dollar increased 0.95 percent against the Japanese yen.

The risk on sentiment will likely see the Euro remain on the back foot through the remainder of the day, which could see the Euro give up $1.20 levels early in the session, with the only consideration for the day being any possible friction between the North Korean's and the U.S, though a war of words is more palatable than actual missile or nuclear tests, as far as the markets are concerned.

Florida insurers gained more.

Wall Street opened higher, with the Dow climbing 0.8 percent in the first minute of trading. HCI Group jumped $5.18, or 16.8 percent, to $35.95 while Heritage Insurance gained $1.95, or 20.8 percent, to $11.32.

Rising tensions between the US and North Korea have weighed on stocks in recent weeks and raised the prices of gold and bonds.

In other sectors, AstraZeneca's shares were among the biggest gainers on the FTSE, rising 2.1 percent after reassuring results from two of its lung cancer drugs.

The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. unit against a basket of six major currencies, was 0.2% higher at 92.51, after skidding to a 2-1/2 year low of 91.011 on Friday. Apple (AAPL.O) rose almost 2 percent a day ahead of the launch of the new iPhone, providing the biggest boost to the Nasdaq and S&P. Microsoft added 63 cents to $74.61 and Mastercard rose $2.73, or 2 percent, to $139.95.

The news of the talks on Sunday helped offset the downward pressure on oil prices amid worries that energy demand would be hit hard by Hurricane Irma.

In foreign exchange, the European single currency was trading down at $1.1978 compared with $1.2030 late in NY on Friday.

SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.28 percent to 834.50 tonnes on Friday from 836.87 tonnes on Thursday.

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