Equity markets swayed between losses and gains in wild Asian trading on Wednesday as the US presidential election results turned out to be far closer than the polls predicted, leaving the outcome completely in doubt.
Investors had initially bet that a possible democratic influence from Joe Biden could reduce political risk and at the same time promise a huge boost to fiscal incentives.
But sentiment quickly shifted on signs that President Donald Trump might snap up Florida and was much closer in other major battlefield states than polls had predicted.
US stock futures went wild, rising and falling, then rising again as the vote appeared to favor Trump.
Some investors were now protecting themselves against the risk of a controversial election, or at least a lengthy process, as the postal vote was counted.
“It’s a wait and see,” said Matt Sherwood, head of investment strategy for Perpetual in Sydney.
“I think the chances of a clean one [Democrat] The sweep is decreasing almost by the minute. This reduces the possibility, or at least the likelihood, that a major stimulus plan will be agreed upon in the early days of a Biden government. “
The yields on ten-year government bonds fell from a five-month high of 0.93 percent to 0.83 percent.
Traders said investors might think a status quo outcome would at least reduce political uncertainty and remove the risk that a Biden government would roll back corporate tax cuts.
The tech sector appeared encouraged with NASDAQ futures rising 3.6 percent, while e-mini futures for the S&P 500 rose 1.4 percent. The Europe-wide EURO STOXX 50 futures were also 0.6 percent firmer, and the UK FTSE futures rose 0.7 percent.
Nasdaq and S&P 500 futures charts [Bloomberg]Japan’s Nikkei was up 2 percent, while MSCI’s broadest index for stocks in the Asia-Pacific region outside Japan rose 0.1 percent.
The Chinese blue chips rose 0.5 percent. Markets weren’t sure how China-US relations would develop from here.
The Hong Kong benchmark index, Hang Seng, made up early losses and remained largely unchanged in East Asia through noon.
China on Tuesday suspended the Ant Group listing for USD 37 billion, foiling the world’s largest IPO in a matter of days. This resulted in a dramatic move with investors and bankers looking for answers.
The Shanghai Stock Exchange first announced that it had suspended Ant’s initial public offering on its STAR market, prompting Ant to freeze the portion of the Hong Kong double listing due Thursday as well.
Shares in e-commerce giant Alibaba, from which Ant was spun off, plummeted more than 9 percent in Hong Kong trade.
Dollar roller coaster
The US dollar also had a roller coaster ride, reversing early losses by 0.9 percent against a basket of currencies of 93.956. The euro fell hard to $ 1.1644 and off a high of $ 1.1768.
Investors are still waiting for the outcome of this week’s Federal Reserve and Bank of England meetings, which are expected to provide at least further stimulus.
The Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates to near zero on Tuesday and stepped up its bond-buying program, which contributed to the tidal wave of cheap money that inundated the global financial system.
Gold had recently been carried by all of that liquidity but was profit-taking on Wednesday and lost 0.6 percent to $ 1,897 an ounce.
Oil prices made gains after industry data showed that US crude stocks fell sharply.
Traders noted that a returned Republican government would likely be more positive for the oil industry than Democrats, who favored renewable technologies.
U.S. crude rose 97 cents to $ 38.63 a barrel, while Brent crude futures rose 93 cents to $ 40.64.