* Wall Street lower in first trading since N.Korea missile test Euro zone data helps European stocks, euro
* Asia markets subdued, Putin warns on N.Korea crisis
* Copper at 3-yr high but gold edges lower
By Marc Jones
LONDON, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Risk appetite started to slip again on Tuesday, with modest falls for Wall Street’s main markets as they reopened for the first time since North Korea’s biggest nuclear missile test yet.
Major U.S. markets had been closed during Monday’s global sell-off, so the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq were playing catch up as they dropped 0.2-0.3 percent in opening deals.
Europe’s markets were being dragged back too, with stocks cutting their morning gains in half and investors shifting into bonds and the yen in fixed income and currency markets.
But as with many political risk plays over the past couple of years, the limited size of the moves suggest that investors were focused more on the upbeat picture of the global economy rather than on pricing in tail risks on every possible bad outcome.
Confirmation that euro zone business activity remained robust last month had helped the pan-European STOXX 600 claw back some of the ground lost on Monday amid international condemnation of the previous day’s nuclear test .
Gold - the traditional go-to for traders when political concerns escalate - eased too, dipping back from a one-year high in its first drop in four days.
“What the recent (North Korea) episodes have shown is that you should not really try to follow these things as they tend to fade quickly,” said ING’s chief EMEA FX and rates strategist, Petr Krpata.
“It is less and less surprising for markets every time, so for us it is not a reason to change our constructive view on carry currencies.”
Among the major currency pairs, the euro tiptoed back up to $1.19 as signs of rising inflation pressure in the earlier euro zone data put the focus back on Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting and its plans to reduce its stimulus programme.
Cautious sounding comments from a Federal Reserve policymaker then knocked the dollar lower, taking it to a one-week low of 109.16 yen as U.S. trading gained momentum.
Overnight China’s Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers’ index (PMI), a forward-looking economic indicator, rose to 52.7 in August, the highest reading in three months.
The market reaction to that was muted, however, with sentiment in Asian equity markets still subdued. Chinese bourses eked out small 0.2-0.3 percent gains but Seoul and Tokyo remained red.
South Korea’s Asia Business Daily, citing an unidentified source, reported that North Korea had moved what looked like an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) towards its west coast, possibly in preparation for a launch.
Seoul said it had struck an agreement with the United States meanwhile which would allow it to beef up the size and potency of its warheads.
Speaking at a summit of the world’s biggest emerging economies in China, Russian President Vladimir Putin again warned though that threatening military action against North Korea could trigger “a global catastrophe”.
“Russia condemns North Korea’s exercises, we consider that they are a provocation ... (But) ramping up military hysteria will lead to nothing good,” he told reporters.
There were some sharp moves in commodity markets.
U.S. WTI oil prices raced higher, while U.S. gasoline prices slumped to pre-Hurricane Harvey levels, as oil refineries and pipelines in the U.S. Gulf Coast slowly resumed activity, easing supply concerns.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures jumped 2.6 percent to trade at $48.50 per barrel, and global benchmark Brent prices climbed 1.68 percent to $53.18.
The reassuring China PMI data helped copper hit a three-year high in industrial metals markets, and nickel hovered near a 14-month peak.
Meanwhile, bitcoin dropped further from Saturday’s all-time high of $4,979.9 to trade at $4,012.
China said on Monday it was banning the practice of raising funds through launches of token-based digital currencies, known as initial coin offerings (ICOs).
For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=http://emea1.apps.cp.extranet.thomsonreuters.biz/cms/?pageId=livemarkets
Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet, editing by Louise Heavens