You are here

Asia: Stocks rise before US vote as polls show Clinton lead

JT-39870235 - 16_09_2016 - ASIA-STOCKS_DIVERGENCE.jpg

[SINGAPORE] Asian stocks climbed for a second day as polls showed Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump in the US presidential election before Americans head to the polls on Tuesday.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.4 per cent to 137.92 as of 4:01pm in Hong Kong, led by raw material and consumer discretionary stocks, following a 0.5 per cent advance on Monday. 

The Shanghai Composite Index closed at a 10-month high as speculation that Mrs Clinton will win outweighed a larger-than-expected drop in Chinese exports. Indonesian and Philippine shares led regional gains amid earnings optimism and increases in metal prices.

The final Bloomberg Politics national poll before the election showed Democratic candidate Mrs Clinton ahead of Republican nominee Trump by 44 per cent to 41 per cent, prompting a relief rally across global equities markets on Monday.

Market voices on:

The poll was conducted before the Federal Bureau of Investigation reiterated its conclusion that Mrs Clinton's handling of e-mails wasn't a crime and that it wouldn't recommend criminal charges against her.

"The market is adding risk assets again," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

"Clinton represents continuity, while Trump represents disruption. But as we've seen in the case of Brexit, anything could happen and so there's still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the elections until we see the actual results."

Chinese Exports

The MSCI All Country World Index rose 1.6 per cent on Monday and the S&P 500 Index jumped 2.2 per cent. Speculation of a Clinton victory helped boost odds of a Federal Reserve interest-rate hike next month. Data compiled by Bloomberg based on fed funds futures trading show an 80 per cent probability of higher borrowing costs by year end, up from 76 per cent on Friday.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.5 per cent to the highest closing level since Jan 8, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.3 per cent.

China's exports fell 7.3 per cent in October from a year earlier in US dollar terms, data released Tuesday showed, more than the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey for a 6 per cent drop. That was the seventh straight month of declines. A depreciation of about 4 per cent in the yuan this year has cushioned the blow from tepid global demand, but failed to provide any sustained boost to shipments.

Five shares retreated for every four that advanced on Japan's Topix index, which finished up 0.1 per cent as the yen traded near a one-week low. SoftBank Group Corp added 1.3 per cent in Tokyo after the phone company reported better-than-projected second-quarter profit, with the wireless and Internet businesses in Japan bringing in cash and unit Sprint Corp showing signs of improvement.

Indonesia, Philippines

The Jakarta Composite Index advanced 1.5 per cent after a 6.4 per cent surge in nickel futures on Monday. PT Vale Indonesia, a producer of the metal, jumped 5.6 per cent.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index was also up 1.5 per cent. 

"Some investors are speculating higher earnings for companies that will benefit from the government's focus on infrastructure projects as well as on strong consumer spending heading into the Christmas season," said Astro del Castillo, managing director at First Grade Holdings Inc in Manila.

Singapore's Straits Times Index rose 0.7 per cent, Malaysia's benchmark measure climbed 0.6 per cent and Thailand's SET Index rallied 0.3 per cent.

South Korea's Kospi index increased 0.3 per cent, as did Taiwan's Taiex index and New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.1 per cent.

MGM China Holdings Ltd climbed 2.8 per cent in Hong Kong after its parent reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates. Santos Ltd surged 6.3 per cent in Sydney, pacing gains among energy producers, as Brent crude rose for a second day.