TORONTO – Major North American stock markets soared Monday as investors placed their bets on Democrat Hillary Clinton emerging victorious over Republican Donald Trump, on the eve of a historic U.S. presidential election.
Wall Street surged at the open as investors digested news that the FBI has found no evidence to warrant charges against Clinton following a criminal probe into her private email server.
The Dow Jones industrial average spiked 371.32 points to close at 18,259.60 — its largest one-day gain since late January. The S&P 500 was up 46.34 points to 2,131.52, while the Nasdaq composite jumped 119.80 points at 5,166.17. All the indexes each racked up gains of more than two per cent.
“It’s pent-up buying demand… a feeling of relief in the market that the worst case scenario is not going to pan out,” said Andrew Pyle, a portfolio manager at ScotiaMcLeod in Peterborough, Ont.
Monday’s rally was in sharp contrast to last week’s performance, which saw all three U.S. stock markets on a seven-session losing streak that was spurred after the FBI announced its new investigation into Clinton’s email — a move that was viewed to increase Trump’s chances of winning.
Investors generally view Clinton as a more stable candidate for stock markets than Trump.
Even so, Pyle said he was still surprised by how big the “knee-jerk reaction” was to the latest FBI news.
He said at this point, if Trump secures the vote, markets will be caught by surprise — somewhat similar to how investors were shocked when the U.K. defied predictions and recently voted to leave the European Union.
A Trump victory has the ability to send stock markets tumbling. Pyle anticipates the S&P would fall to post-Brexit lows, below the 2,000-mark.
But unlike Brexit, the common term used for Britain’s exit from the EU, it’s unclear what kind of impact a Trump presidency would have on the U.S. economy and how long that impact may linger.
“Most would agree that if Trump wins tomorrow, we are dealing with a four-year term full of policies that the market has been pretty unambiguous in their view that they wouldn’t be economically positive or market positive,” said Pyle.
In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 143.20 points at 14,652.45, with gains kept slightly in check by a decline in gold stocks. December bullion tumbled $25.10 to US$1,279.40 an ounce.
Oil markets were also up, as the December crude contract climbed 82 cents to US$44.89 per barrel. The boost helped lift the Canadian dollar up 0.17 a U.S. cent to 74.78 cents US.
Other commodities were also positive as December natural gas added five cents to US$2.82 per mmBTU and December copper contracts gained four cents to US$2.30 a pound.
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