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Singapore shares finish lower after North Korea fires missile over Japan


A North Korean missile test on Tuesday brought geopolitical tensions to the fore and sent the Straits Times Index (STI) down 18.28 points to 3,249.34. At 5 pm, the Dow futures had dropped 144 points, signalling a weak opening for Wall Street, while Europe opened in the red across the board.

According to news reports, North Korea fired a missile early on Tuesday that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific about 1,180 km off Hokkaido. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that it was "a most serious and grave" threat. Reuters news agency described the test as one of the most provocative ever from the reclusive state, and CNN reported that South Korea responded by conducting a bombing drill to test its "capability to destroy the North Korean leadership".

Most observers noted that safe havens all benefited from the spike up in geopolitical worries. Rabobank said that its foreign exchange analyst Jane Foley noted that the location of the conflict and the parties involved make the euro, rather than the US dollar, the preferred safe haven currency of choice.

Given the tensions, it was no surprise that turnover here was a low two billion units worth S$967 million or that the advance-decline score was a weak 160-268, excluding warrants.

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