News

Asian stocks mixed as investors focus on US election

BEIJING, China – Asian stocks were mixed Tuesday following strong Wall Street gains as investors focused on the final hours of a tight U.S. presidential race.

KEEPING SCORE: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.2 per cent to 22,837.05 points and the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.1 per cent to 3,135.81. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 retreated 0.2 per cent to 17,150.84 and Seoul’s Kospi lost 0.1 per cent to 1,995.28. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was unchanged at 5,248.00. Benchmarks in New Zealand, Singapore and Jakarta rose while Taiwan declined.

WALL STREET: The U.S. stock market rebounded from a nine-day losing streak to post its biggest gain in eight months. Financial stocks led the rally, which erased more than half of the losses racked up by the Standard & Poor’s 500 index since October 25. The Dow gained 371.32 points, or 2.1 per cent, to 18,259.60. The S&P 500 index rose 46.34 points, or 2.2 per cent, to 2,131.52. The Nasdaq composite index added 119.80 points, or 2.4 per cent, to 5,166.17.

PRESIDENTIAL JITTERS: Hillary Clinton appeared to gain an edge over rival Donald Trump but analysts said the race was too close to call and traders hedged their positions. Clinton’s position improved after the FBI announced its review of newly discovered Clinton emails found no evidence to warrant charges. Unease had ratcheted up in recent weeks over signs the race was tightening. Clinton is seen as more favourable to trade while Trump has unnerved markets by calling for controls on imports and immigration. That triggered the longest losing streak for the S&P 500 since 1980.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Markets are moving toward pricing in a Clinton victory, but not fully, given the painful lesson from Brexit,” Mizuho Bank said in a report. “We expect market volatility to increase somewhat tomorrow as U.S. exit polls and elections results start streaming in.”

CURRENCY: The dollar rose 104.44 yen from Monday’s 104.39 yen. The euro edged lower, to $1.1036 from $1.1042.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 3 cents to $44.86 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 82 cents on Monday to close at $44.89. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 7 cents to $46.22 in London. It added 57 cents the previous session to $46.15.