Asian stocks struggle on US election concerns
ASIAN traders moved cautiously yesterday as news that the FBI would further probe Hillary Clinton’s emails fuelled fresh uncertainty about the outcome of the US presidential election just eight days before the vote.
Traders globally had broadly expected Democratic candidate and Wall Street favourite Clinton to sweep to victory, with her rival Donald Trump considered a loose cannon.
But FBI chief James Comey’s announcement that the bureau was again looking at her use of a private email server while secretary of state sent shudders through trading floors, with US stocks tumbling and the dollar taking a hit.
The sell-off filtered through to Asia, where dealers are also nervously awaiting a series of key events this week, including central bank policy meetings in Japan and the US and the release of US jobs figures.
Trading conditions will be “slippery and shifty”, said Stephen Innes, senior trader at forex firm OANDA.
“The calendar is full of high-risk events making for a treacherous path to navigate in the lead-up to the monumental November 8 US election,” he said in a note.
Tokyo’s Nikkei ended 0.1 percent lower, Hong Kong shed 0.1pc and Shanghai also closed 0.1pc off, while Seoul slipped 0.6pc and Taipei was 0.2pc off.
The development also caused the dollar to wobble, falling to 104.73 yen in New York on October 28 from 105.30 yen earlier in the day in Asia. Yesterday it struggled to bounce back, sitting at 104.90 yen, while it also edged up against the pound and the euro.
It held most gains against the Mexican peso on worries about a possible win by Mr Trump, who has promised to tear up a trade deal between the two countries.
“Until the election, the general theme will be uncertainty, which will have implications not just on the stock market, but on the dollar and Treasuries,” Chad Morganlander, a money manager said.
Oil prices also fell – dragging energy firms lower – following OPEC’s failure last week to hammer out details of an agreement to cut output and ease a supply glut. –
Pedestrians walk past an electronic quotation board flashing the Nikkei key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in front of a securities company in Tokyo.