Dollar Rallies As Irma, North Korea Fears Calm

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The relief over North Korea and a weaker yen had also given Tokyo its best session since June in Asia, as investors began to lose their appetite for safer assets like gold and US Treasuries.

The dollar index, a measure of the USA currency against a weighted basket of peers, rose 0.3 per cent as concerns that Hurricane Irma would hit Florida with the force of a Category 5 hurricane dissipated after it made landfall as a Category 4 storm.

Market participants had been anxious about a potential North Korean missile test on Saturday, to mark the anniversary of the founding of the nation.

At 9:37 a.m. ET (1337 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average.DJI was up 172.84 points, or 0.79 percent, at 21,970.63 and the S&P 500.SPX was up 17.64 points, or 0.72 percent, at 2,479.07. The storm pummeled Florida over the weekend after devastating much of the Caribbean. There was also relief among investors that a national holiday passed in North Korea without that country escalating tensions with the U.S.

Shares of Travelers Cos., Progressive and American International Group rose 2.6%, 1.3% and 1.2% in the pre-market, respectively.

The dollar increased 0.95 percent against the Japanese yen.

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About 6 billion shares changed hands in USA exchanges, above the 5.8 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

"US equities are moving solidly higher in early action, with geopolitical concerns fading as North Korea held off on conducting another missile test, while early reports are suggesting downgraded Hurricane Irma's economic impact may be lower than feared, bolstering insurance stocks", said analysts at Charles Schwab brokerage. Among them, Marinus Pharma (MRNS.O) surged about 56 percent and Idera Pharma (IDRA.O) gained about 16 percent.

The financial sector.SPSY was up 1.69 percent.

Stock markets rallied on Monday on receding concerns over North Korea and Hurricane Irma, analysts said. Apple (AAPL.O) rose almost 2 percent a day ahead of the launch of the new iPhone, providing the biggest boost to the Nasdaq and S&P. On the Nasdaq, 2,062 issues rose and 790 fell.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.84 yen from 107.79 yen late Friday.

The single currency dropped 0.41 percent to $1.1984, pulling back from the 2-1/2-year high of $1.2108 hit on Friday. With electronic card sales accounting for around two-thirds of retail sales, the RBNZ will be taking a close look at the numbers and the possible effects on the economy over the near-term, with the key being whether consumer confidence continues to remain positive, supported by relatively stable household income, softer consumer prices coming off the back of a bounce in the Kiwi Dollar and continued weakness in crude oil prices. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index in Japan jumped 1.4 percent as the yen came off recent highs against the dollar, easing pressure on exporters.