World : Stocks, dollar, peso jump in relief rally after FBI clears Clinton
HONG KONG : Stocks rose and the dollar rallied against its major rivals on Monday after the FBI said it stood by its earlier recommendation that no criminal charges were warranted against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The news boosted U.S. S&P 500 Index futures 1.2 percent, a gain that is likely to snap the nine-day losing streak in the U.S. stock index – its longest in more than 35 years and propelled Asian shares higher in opening trades.
Stock markets in Asia also opened up with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advancing 0.3 percent. Australian shares were up 0.7 percent and Japanese shares rose 1.2 percent.
The biggest winner was the Mexican peso, which has acted as something of a bellwether of sentiment as Republican Donald Trump’s proposed policies are considered to be deeply negative for the country. It rose to a 1-1/2 week high earlier. “This will surely boost the chance of Clinton’s victory. Barring another unexpected scandal on her side, it looks likely that she will win the race,” said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities in Tokyo.
“Given that the market had been slipping for nine days, there will be short-covering.”
Investors had been unnerved by signs of a tightening presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump, whose stance on foreign policy, trade and immigration has rippled through financial markets.
Clinton is seen as a candidate of the status quo and her policies are viewed as more predictable than her Republican rival, a political novice.
The FBI said on Sunday it stood by its earlier finding that no criminal charges were warranted against Clinton for using a private email server for government work, lifting a cloud over her presidential campaign two days before the U.S. election.
Still, despite a boost to Clinton’s prospects in Tuesday’s vote, investors are unlikely to make big bets given Trump’s gains in polls recently may not be entirely due to the FBI probe.
Markets are also expecting a Federal Reserve rate increase next month after a government report on Friday showed solid jobs gains and a rise in wages in October.
Indeed, despite the early bounce in risky assets, the market undertone was noticeably cautious before the outcome with a key gauge for market volatility, the popular VIX index at its highest levels in nearly six months.
Elsewhere, Hong Kong stocks are likely to be under pressure after authorities unveiled a fresh round of policy tightening measures on rising property prices.
In the currency market, the dollar rose as much as 0.9 percent against the yen and last stood at 104.02 yen, while the euro dropped 0.4 percent to $ 1.1015.
The standout was the Mexican peso, rallying 1.7 percent to 18.69 to the dollar, hitting its highest level since Oct 26.
Another notable outperformer in early Asian trades was the Australian dollar which jumped nearly 1 percent against the Japanese yen.
“The dollar is being bought back on lessened prospects of a Trump presidency. But so far it is not active buying, as Clinton is likely to maintain a policy that prevents a strong dollar if she is elected, and as economic prospects remain unclear,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.
Bond price retreated with both U.S. and Japanese bond futures falling as risk appetite surged across the board. U.S. 10-year Treasury futures were last down about 0.3 percent Sunday evening in electronic trading.
Gold prices, another safe-haven asset, fell 1 percent to $ 1291.16 per ounce.
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