SEOUL, South Korea
Asian shares slipped Friday as investors fretted over rising geopolitical tensions, especially the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Many markets around the world were closed for Good Friday holidays.
KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 closed down 91.2 points, about 0.5 percent to 18,335.6, and South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.6 percent to 2,134.88. The Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.9 percent to 3,246.07. Markets in Hong Kong, Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries were closed. Markets in Europe and the United States also were closed for Good Friday, the start of Easter observances.
NORTH KOREA: Analysts said investors were seeking safe havens on concern North Korea may be planning a nuclear test. As it prepares for the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il Sung on Saturday, North Korea has intensified its rhetoric, warning of strong retaliation against any aggression as U.S.-South Korea hold military exercises.
ANALYST’S VIEWPOINT: “Geopolitics seemed to dominate over the past week with the ramifications of the U.S. missile strike on Syria still reverberating and tensions around North Korea steadily building,” analyst Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital, said in a commentary. “The issues around Syria are likely to settle down, assuming U.S. involvement does not escalate, but North Korea is more risky.”