Asian markets slip on concerns over North Korea
Stock markets across Asia were lower on Friday as geopolitical uncertainty on the Korean peninsula continued to worry investors.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.4 percent closing at 18,335.63, and South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.6 percent to 2,134.88.
In China, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.9 percent to close at 3,246.07. The Shenzhen Composite declined 0.7 percent to 1,999.8.
Markets in Hong Kong are closed for the Easter public holiday and will reopen next Tuesday.
The session in Asia followed a lower finish on Wall Street after the US military dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb, dubbed the "mother of all bombs," in Afghanistan. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both hit two-month closing lows on Thursday.
According to analysts, investors sought safe havens as North Korea is believed to be planning a nuclear test and the US has sent a naval group toward the region.
"Geopolitics seemed to dominate over the past week with the ramifications of the US' missile strike on Syria still reverberating and tensions around North Korea steadily building," Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital, was cited as saying by the Associated Press. "The issues around Syria are likely to settle down assuming US involvement does not escalate, but North Korea is more risky," he added.
North Korea’s Vice Minister Han Song Ryol warned the US against military provocation, telling AP "we will go to war if they choose."
Among the major currencies, the Japanese yen strengthened to 108.92 against the US dollar on Friday afternoon. The Australian dollar fetched $0.7562 and the euro traded at $1.0613.