Global Stocks Lower on NKorea, Irma

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Global stock markets were lower Wednesday as investors found ample reasons to stay away from risky assets amid tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the powerful hurricane approaching the United States.

KEEPING SCORE: European market got off to a weak start. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.6 percent to 7,330.83. France's CAC 40 was down 0.3 percent to 5,073.72 and Germany's DAX dipped 0.2 percent to 12,098.87. Futures augured a tepid start on Wall Street. Both S&P and Dow futures added 0.1 percent.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.1 percent to 19,357.97 and South Korea's Kospi was down 0.3 percent to 2,319.82. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.5 percent to 27,613.76 and Shanghai Composite Index was flat at 3,385.39. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.3 percent to 5,689.70. Stocks in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were all lower.

NORTH KOREA: Investors are yet to see signs that the geopolitical tensions between the United States and North Korea, which surged after the North's sixth nuclear test on Sunday, would ease any time soon. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said in his tweet that he has given the go-ahead for Japan and South Korea to buy a "substantially increased amount" of sophisticated military equipment from the United States. South Korea is seeking more military might and considering bringing back the U.S. nuclear weapons.

ANALYST'S TAKE: President Trump's tweets "were seen as provocations on the U.S. end, feeding jitters into the market," Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore, said in a daily commentary. "Adding to the unnerving set of leads had also been the approach of Hurricane Irma for a country that has barely recovered from Hurricane Harvey's devastation."

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 13 cents to $48.79 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.37, or 2.9 percent, to settle at $48.66 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 20 cents to $53.58 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 108.76 yen from 108.79 yen. The euro rose to $1.1941 from $1.1912.