Close vote count equals volatile markets

As the votes roll in across the U.S. in the presidential election, stock, currency and bond markets around the globe are trading in volatile fashion as a tight race in Florida, a key swing state, keeps investors on edge as the world awaits the winner of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Investors are closely watching how the vote tally plays out in America, where Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump vie for the White House. Trump's strong showing is causing a bout of volatility and causing so-called risk assets to fall, as Wall Street had been pricing in a Clinton win the past two sessions.

In early trading in Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index was on a wild rollercoaster ride, with shares opening higher, then darting lower than rebounding sharply, before slumping again; it is currently up just 0.3%. Shares were also trending higher in Australia, where the S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.3%. The up and down trading reflects investor reaction to the incoming results in the U.S., with stocks rising when Clinton's chances of winning rise and slumping lower when early results show Trump still in the race.

Clinton is viewed more favorably by Wall Street, as she is a well-known political entity who represents the status quo. In contrast, Trump is viewed more warily by investors due to his unpredictable behavior and his negative views on free trade.

Volatility is also evident in currency markets. The Mexican peso is down nearly 4% vs. the U.S. dollar, which reflects Trump's solid showing so far in Florida, which remains too-close-to call.The peso has rallied in the four previous sessions as the chances of a Trump win started to wane. In another sign of concern that Trump still has a chance to pull off the upset, the Japanese yen, a perceived haven, is up about 2% vs. the dollar.

U.S. stocks are also losing altitude in after-hours trading as the election outcome remains unclear. The Dow Jones industrial average is down about 266 points in futures trading, after being up about 100 points earlier in the session.

Stocks in the U.S., of course, are coming off a strong two-day rally, as investors began to price in a Clinton win ahead of the final vote tally, in large part due to the FBI saying Sunday that it would not press charges against her in an investigation related to her email use while secretary of State.

After Monday's big rally, which was pricing in a Clinton win, Wall Street was debating whether the stock surge Monday and Tuesday was the start of a longer relief rally or whether it was setting the market up for a vicious fall if Trump engineers a surprise win.

In a similar sign of investor angst as the votes are counted, U.S. Treasury yields, which move opposite price, were moving lower in evening trading. The yield was lower at 1.760, after being as high as 1.889%. Higher yields signal investors are betting on a Clinton victory, as a win by the incumbent party candidate is more market-friendly and is likely to provide clear sailing for the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates for the first time at its December meeting.


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