Shares turn skittish as early results show tight US election

US stock index futures hover around unchanged mark as early US presidential election results point to close race.

A close US election race is keeping investors on their toes [Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg]
A close US election race is keeping investors on their toes [Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg]

US stock futures and Asian share markets turned cautious on Wednesday, paring sharp early gains as results from the United States presidential election hinted at a close race with no clear winner yet in sight.

Investors had initially wagered that a possible Democratic sweep could ease political risk while promising a huge boost to fiscal stimulus, hitting safe-haven dollar and bonds.

But signs that US President Donald Trump might snatch Florida dampened the mood and saw 10-year Treasury yields drop to 0.89 percent from a five-month top of 0.93 percent.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 retreated 0.2 percent, having earlier been up 1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei was still up 1 percent but South Korea went flat. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.3 percent.

Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index was down 0.6 percent in early Asian trade.

China suspended Ant Group’s $37bn stock market listing on Tuesday, thwarting the world’s largest initial public offering with just days to go, in a dramatic move that left investors and bankers scrambling for answers.

The Shanghai stock exchange first announced that it had suspended Ant’s initial public offering on its STAR market, prompting Ant to also freeze the Hong Kong leg of the dual listing, which was due on Thursday.

Shares of e-commerce giant Alibaba, from which Ant was spun off, slumped more than 9 percent in Hong Kong trade.

Dollar slips, crude gains

The US dollar reversed early losses and gained 0.4 percent on a basket of currencies to 93.494. The euro eased back to $1.1707 from a top of $1.1768.

Investors are still awaiting the outcome of Federal Reserve and Bank of England meetings this week, which are expected to at least give a nod to further stimulus.

The Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday cut interest rates to near zero and boosted its bond-buying programme, adding to the tidal wave of cheap money flooding the global financial system.

This surfeit of liquidity has been a boon for gold, which is tightly limited in supply. The yellow metal ran into profit-taking on Wednesday and dipped to $1,902 an ounce, but stayed comfortably above last week’s trough of $1,858. Oil prices also pared their early gains as the election outcome turned murky.

US crude futures were up 42 cents at $38.08, with Brent ones last at $39.71.

Source : News Agencies


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