LONDON, Nov 7 ― Wall Street was set for a surge today and global stocks rose after a US election divided control of Congress, but the outcome, which casts doubt on further tax cuts, hit the dollar and sent Treasury yields lower.
The Democrats looked headed for a gain of more than 30 seats in the House of Representatives, well beyond the 23 they needed to claim their first majority in eight years. With President Donald Trump’s Republican party holding onto its Senate majority, the results from Tuesday’s elections were in line with expectations.
While gridlock in Washington could hamper Trump’s political and economic agenda, few expect a reversal of tax cutting and financial deregulation measures that have already been enacted.
That view put all three New York equity indices on track for a strong opening, with S&P500 and Nasdaq futures up 1 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively by 1230 GMT, while the Dow Jones was set to open up 0.7 per cent.
“The good news in a way for markets is that there was an uncertainty that’s now been removed. We know where we stand for the next two years, and investors will focus back on the fundamentals, which are (company) earnings growth and the economy,” said Guy Miller, chief market strategist at Zurich Insurance Group.
After volatile Asian trade, where stocks and the dollar swung on the Republicans’ fluctuating prospects, a pan-European stocks benchmark jumped 0.9 per cent while MSCI’s world equity index was up 0.4 per cent, its seventh straight day of gains. Riskier European bonds such as those from Italy also were in demand, with yields falling 6-9 basis points.
Sylvain Goyon, head of equity strategy at the Oddo brokerage in Paris, said many investors had been on the sidelines before the election, due to what he called “an uncertainty premium”.
“Now it’s behind us, there’s a good reason for them to get back to the market,” he said.
Most analysts agree the newly empowered House Democrats will have the ability to investigate Trump’s tax returns, possible business conflicts of interest and allegations involving his 2016 campaign’s links to Russia.
Moreover, a split Congress will be able to hamper Trump’s push for a further round of tax cuts and deregulation ― measures that have turbo-charged the US economy, stock markets and the dollar.
The Fed is expected to signal this week that an interest rate rise remains on the agenda for December.
“Certainly it is now unlikely we will see additional fiscal stimulus in the near-term, that’s a profound change but there will be no repeal of what’s already in place,” Miller said.
That view pushed the dollar 0.5 per cent lower against a basket of currencies though it clawed back some earlier losses.
Ten-year US Treasury bond yields fell to a low of 3.176 per cent as it became clear that more fiscal stimulus was unlikely.
An initial knee-jerk rise to 3.25 per cent came after early reports of a better-than-expected performance by the Republicans, but that move soon fizzled as results trickled in.
“Democrats winning the House is likely to mean slightly less fiscal stimulus going forward. The bond market may take that well because the Federal Reserve will have less work to do,” said Richard Buxton, head of UK equities at Merian Global Investors.
Attention will also focus on Trump’s hard line on trade tariffs, which he can impose without Congressional approval. That keeps alive worries about a trade war between China and the United States.
Chinese shares closed 0.7 per cent lower, while Hong Kong markets ended just above flat.
“We would argue that if Trump can do less on the domestic front, he is more likely to focus on external matters such as trade, which will impact risk sentiment,” said Patrick O’Donnell, investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management in London.
The dollar’s weakness boosted other currencies. Against the yen, the greenback was 0.2 per cent lower to 113.06, having reversed a move to one-month highs of ¥113.82 (RM4.17).
The euro rose 0.5 per cent to US$1.1481, a two-week high, while the British pound gained 0.4 per cent to US$1.3168, rising for a third straight day after a BBC report that Britain was preparing for a Brexit deal by end-November.
Oil prices reversed their earlier decline, meanwhile, with Brent futures jumping 1.4 per cent to above US$73 a barrel after a report that Russia and Saudi Arabia were discussing output cuts in 2019. ― Reuters
Source: The Malay Mail Online