Stock market: Fears ease over North Korea
Stock market futures in US edge up as tensions ease over Kim Jong Il's passing. Asia markets close lower, but stock market in Germany, Britain, and France recover.
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European markets fell, but then rebounded as investors weighed the potential consequences of Kim's death. Asian indexes closed lower. Analysts warn Kim's death could cause an uncertain power transition and put the brakes on talks aimed at getting the secretive communist state to give up its nuclear weapons.
Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader's untested third son and heir-apparent, is expected to want to consolidate his power and dispel any notions of weakness.
Dow Jones industrial average futures are up 51, or 0.4 percent at 11,829. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index futures are up 7, or 0.6 percent, at 1,218. Nasdaq 100 futures are up 13.25, or 0.6 percent, to 2246.
"The most likely scenario for regime collapse has been the sudden death of Kim (Jong Il). We are now in that scenario," said Victor Cha, a former U.S. National Security Council director for Asian affairs.
But after Asian indexes closed lower, European stocks recovered. Germany's DAX rose 0.7 percent to 5,741 and Paris' CAC 40 index rose 0.2 percent to 2,979. Britain's FTSE gained 0.3 percent to 5,405.40.
Overnight South Korea's Kospi index dived nearly 5 percent but later recouped some losses to close 3.4 percent lower at 1,776.93. The Korean won also fell, losing 1.6 percent against the U.S. dollar, a traditional haven in times of uncertainty. The Japanese yen and other regional currencies also weakened against the dollar.
The euro was flat around $1.3030.
Kim's death overshadowed what already was a gloomy start to the week after Fitch warned after the market close on Friday that it may downgrade the credit ratings of Italy and Spain, as well as Belgium, Cyprus, Ireland and Slovenia.
The ministers will seek to decide how to split up the €200 billion ($261 billion) EU leaders promised to send to the IMF at a summit 10 days ago. The money is meant to boost the eurozone's firewall against the escalating debt crisis.There were some doubts whether the EU would reach the €200 billion after several non-eurozone countries balked at having to support the currency union. The ministers will also discuss in their conference call a new treaty to tighten fiscal discipline, a spokesman for the Polish delegation to the European said.
Over the coming days, investors will remain alert to developments in North Korea's power transition.
Kim Jong Il's death, announced Monday by North Korean state television, raises the specter of more instability on the divided Korean peninsula.