Asian Stocks Mostly Higher Monday

TOKYO (AP) -- Asian shares were mostly higher Monday despite worries over regional tensions after a North Korea missile launch failed over the weekend.

KEEPING SCORE: Many markets in Asia and Europe were closed for Labor Day. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.6 percent to 19,310.52. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.4 percent to 5,949.20.

WALL STREET: U.S. stocks closed modestly lower Friday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 0.2 percent to 2,384.20. The Dow Jones industrial average also fell 0.2 percent, to 20,940.51. The Nasdaq composite was steady at 6,047.61.

NORTH KOREA: The North's failed attempt to launch a mid-range ballistic missile on Saturday added to regional uncertainty. President Donald Trump has warned that the U.S. "can't allow" North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to develop better missiles.

THE QUOTE: "The market mood remains relatively cautious ahead of a big news week that will include the French election and U.S. jobs data," Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a commentary.

U.S. ECONOMY: U.S. jobs data will be released later this week. The Labor Department said last week the U.S. economy turned in its weakest performance in three years in the January-March quarter, reflecting a slowdown in consumer spending. Growth, as measured by gross domestic product, amounted to 0.7 percent in the first quarter, less than what economists were expecting.

FRANCE FACTOR: A runoff election is set for Sunday for the French presidency between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen. There are worries about growing nationalism.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 6 cents to $49.27 a barrel. It rose 36 cents, or 0.7 percent, to settle late Friday at $49.33 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 13 cents to $51.92 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro edged down to $1.0889 from $1.0924 late Friday in Asia. The dollar strengthened to 111.69 yen from 111.44 yen.

(KA)