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North Korea caught investors off guard on Monday morning, firing four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. And that’s just for starters.

China’s military defence budget passed the Rmb1tn mark for the first time, Nintendo shares enjoyed a second day of gains after the launch of the company’s new Switch console, Australia’s retail sales bounced back out of contraction, shares in subsidiaries of South Korean conglomerate Lotte struggled to recover and China’s offshore and onshore dollar exchange rates continued swapping sides in their increasingly strange strange tango.

Japanese equities fell, with the Topix index down 0.2 per cent. Other Asian markets were broadly higher on Monday with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index up 0.3 per cent, the Shanghai Composite index gaining 0.3 per cent and the S&P/ASX 200 closing 0.3 per cent higher in Australia.

Futures tip the FTSE 100 to open down 0.1 per cent, while the S&P 500 is tipped to open down 0.3 per cent.

The corporate calendar is light with Ultra Electronics reporting today, however, the economic calendar is marginally heavier with the following (all times London):

  • 06.25: Swiss National Bank annual results
  • 09.00: UK new car registrations
  • 09.30: Sentix eurozone expectations index
  • 10.00: Greece Q4 GDP (final)
  • 11.30: Bank of England deputy governor Charlotte Hogg to speak in Lincoln

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