Dollar higher but traders remain cautious as short bets spike

City skyline

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 157.28 points, or 0.72%, to 21,955.07.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 40.50 points or 0.71 percent to 5,713.10 while the broader All Ordinaries index finished 35.70 points or 0.62 percent higher at 5,775.10.

"The fear that the hurricane was going to be this massive disaster has receded".

The index had hit a more than two-and-a-half year low of 91.011 on Friday as investors fretted about the short-term impact of Irma on the USA economy and simmering tensions with North Korea. At current levels, major indexes are less than 2 percentage points from all-time highs. Irma was a Category 5 storm when it battered Cuba but weakened to Category 1 after hitting Florida.

The National Hurricane Centre on Monday said the storm "should continue to lose strength and fall below hurricane intensity" during the day, as it continues its path northwards. Irma has left at least 4 million residents without power.

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Investors had been anxious that North Korea would launch more missile tests over the weekend as it celebrated its 69th anniversary.

Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was moving up 0.3 percent, India's Sensex was rising 0.7 percent and Singapore's Straits Times index was up 0.1 percent while the Taiwan Weighted declined 0.4 percent.

North Korea - which is at odds with most of the rest of the world due to its nuclear ambitions - took advantage of the 69th celebration of Foundation Day to indirectly hint that more weapons tests might be coming up soon.

If the USA does "rig up the illegal and unlawful "resolution" on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure the USA pays due price", said North Korea's foreign ministry via a statement published by the official KCNA news agency, according to AFP (https://www.yahoo.com/news/north-korea-warns-us-greatest-pain-over-fresh-201000211.html).

Meanwhile, China's consumer price inflation rose more than expected in August and producer prices advanced on higher raw material costs, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed over the weekend.

On the corporate front, Teva Pharmaceutical rose sharply in pre-market trade after announcing the appointment of Lundbeck's Kare Schultz as its new chief executive. European insurers were also gaining on Monday, amid some signs Irma's impact may be less than expected.

United States futures pointed to a firmer open on Wall Street on Monday as worries about North Korea and Hurricane Irma receded.

Shares of The Walt Disney Co.(DIS) moved modestly higher in premarket, as Irma moved across into Orlando.

Demand for safer assets, including gold, also weakened after storm Irma wreaked less damage than feared in Florida.

US gold futures for December delivery were down 0.9 percent at $1,339.20. The Nikkei 225 benefited from the weak Yen, and gained more than 1.3 percent.

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