ASX shudders as Korean tensions rise

ASX shudders as Korean tensions rise

Sabre-rattling over North Korea’s missile program sent investors seeking out safe haven assets such as gold and the Japanese yen on Wednesday, but strong performances in the mining sector helped keep the ASX’s losses small.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 opened in the black but lost ground in choppy trade to finish down 0.3 per cent, at 5763.3 points.

Tuesday’s stronger-than-expected retail trade figures seemed to still be working their way through the market on Wednesday, with several key names in the battered retailing sector rising despite the risk-off mood.

Leading these was Flight Centre, which soared 10.4 per cent after it told the market its full-year profits would be towards the top of its range. Flight Centre is the ASX’s tenth-most shorted stock according to data site Shortman, with 12.2 per cent of its shares loaned out to short-sellers, many of whom may have been squeezed by Wednesday’s announcement.