Global shares advance, shrugging off North Korean missile

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TOKYO (AP) — Global share benchmarks advanced Wednesday following a broad rally on Wall Street that lifted U.S. stocks to a milestone-shattering finish. Investors appeared to shrug off the latest launch of a ballistic missile by North Korea.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX gained 0.7 percent to 13,152.52 and the CAC 40 of France was up 0.4 percent at 5,414.30. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.6 percent to 7,418.15 as strength in the British pound weighed on sentiment. Futures pointed to a tepid start on Wall Street, with Dow futures up 0.2 percent and S&P 500 futures nearly unchanged.

NORTH KOREA MISSILE: North Korea on Wednesday ended the longest pause in its missile tests this year with what appeared to be its most powerful version yet of an intercontinental ballistic missile meant to target the United States. North Korea's 20th launch of a ballistic missile this year adds to fears that the North will soon have a military arsenal that can viably target the U.S. mainland. But it barely registered in regional markets.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Initially, the news about another missile test created some uncertainty in the market, but it was short lived due to the fact that the reaction from the U.S. was muted," Naeem Aslam of Think Markets UK Ltd. said in a commentary.

U.S. DATA BOOST: Investors got a strong dose of encouraging U.S. economic news when the Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose this month to its highest level in 17 years. Economic growth clocked at a healthy 3 percent annual pace in the third quarter, and the unemployment rate fell to a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. A separate index showed U.S. home prices rose at the fastest pace in more than three years in September.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.5 percent to 22,597.20, while South Korea's Kospi edged 0.1 percent lower to 2,512.90. Australia's S&P ASX 200 added 0.5 percent to 6,011.10. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong fell 0.2 percent to 29,623.83 and the Shanghai Composite index rebounded from early losses to gain 0.1 percent, at 3,337.86. India's Sensex slipped 0.1 percent to 33,599.84 and shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gave up 33 cents to $57.66 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped 12 cents to settle at $57.99 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 41 cents to $62.83 per barrel. It declined 23 cents to close at $63.61 in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar ticked up to 111.48 yen from 111.46 Japanese yen on Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.1869 from $1.1839.

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AP Business Writer Alex Veiga in Los Angeles contributed to this story.