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For anyone who might’ve been hoping for an uneventful (if strained) US-China summit this week: the game is well and truly up.

North Korea fired a missile into the Sea of Japan on Wednesday morning ahead of a scheduled visit between the leaders of the US and China — and days after Donald Trump said the US was prepared to take unilateral action to tackle the Pyongyang threat.

The Asia trading day has seen coking coal pop almost 9 per cent higher in China, where cement maker BBMG’s shares climbed as much as 20 per cent on optimism about a new development zone south of Beijing. Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile saw shares dip more than 13 per cent after a profit warning, while Taiwan’s manufacturers closed out the first quarter with a rebound in business activity. South Korea’s CJ Group also said it was considering a bid for Brighton’s own Body Shop.

Stock markets across the Asia Pacific region were slightly weaker as investors juggled a sentiment-boosting jump in oil prices and geopolitical tensions on the South Korean peninsula. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.2 per cent in late afternoon trading, while Tokyo’s Topix was off 0.2 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.3 per cent.

Futures tip the FTSE 100 to open up 0.2 per cent in London, while the S&P 500 is expected to dip 0.1 per cent when trading begins in New York.

Corporate earnings reports out today include McCarthy & Stone and HSS Hire.

The economic calendar for Wednesday is overtly focused on purchasing managers and the indices thereof (all times London):

  • 08.15: Spain Markit services PMI
  • 08.45: Italy Markit services PMI
  • 08.50: France Markit services PMI
  • 08.55: Germany Markit services PMI
  • 09.00: eurozone Markit services PMI
  • 09.30: UK Markit services PMI
  • 09.30: UK productivity and labour costs (Q4)
  • Interest rate decisions from Poland and Romania are also due out today.

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