South Korean shares fell on Thursday after North Korea launched two missiles.
The Kospi index closed down 0.4% after the country’s military said that Pyongyang had launched two missiles toward the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan.
The projectiles were a “new type of short-range missile” and posed a “military threat” which risked undermining the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, South Korea’s Ministry of Defense said.
The market losses in Seoul came despite a stronger-than-expected rebound in South Korea’s economy in the second quarter. GDP rose by 1.1% following a surprise contraction in the first three months of the year, according to data published Thursday.
“We expect GDP growth to remain moderate over the rest of the year amid heightened trade uncertainties, but recent monetary easing by the Bank of Korea will provide some support,” Oxford Economics said in a note.
South Korea missed out on modest gains across other Asian markets, which were drawing support from confirmation of new US-China trade talks and hopes of central bank stimulus.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will travel to Shanghai to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and other officials for trade talks starting on July 30, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.
Here are some of the other big moves on Asian markets at 3:30 p.m. Hong Kong time.
- Samsung outperformed other Korean stocks, gaining 1.7%. The smartphone maker announced it would launch the delayed Galaxy Fold in some markets in September after making improvements to protect the screen.
- Shares in Nissan closed down 2.1% in Tokyo. Shortly after the market close, the carmaker announced it would cut 12,500 jobs worldwide and slash production capacity by 10% after its operating profit plunged 98.5% for the fiscal first quarter.
- Tencent rose 1.8% in Hong Kong after the Chinese social media giant said it is working with Nintendo about launching its Switch console in China soon.
- Japan’s Nikkei ended 0.2% higher, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.3% in afternoon trading. They were helped by a record close for the S&P500 and Nasdaq, and expectations that the European Central Bank will signal further support for the economy at its meeting later Thursday.
Zachary Cohen contributed to the story.