Asian Stocks Rise On Hopes For Post-Election US Stimulus

Channels Television  
Updated October 8, 2020
A currency dealer monitors exchange rates in a trading room at the KEB Hana Bank in Seoul on October 12, 2018. Asia’s main stock markets traded lower on October 12, but losses were relatively muted as investors took a breather after a global rout sparked by fears over higher US interest rates.  Jung Yeon-je / AFP


Asian markets mostly rose Thursday as investors tracked a Wall Street rally, with investors increasingly confident Joe Biden and the Democratic Party will win the presidency and both houses of Congress, paving the way for a huge new stimulus.

Donald Trump’s decision to break off talks for a second rescue package gave global traders a massive jolt this week, but his call soon after for targeted help — including $1,200 handouts for Americans and help for small businesses — lifted hopes for some sort of deal.

But analysts said that while the end of the talks came as a blow, there are broad expectations that a new spending bill will be passed at some point as the economic recovery stutters and the coronavirus sees fresh spikes around the world.

“The market realises that whoever wins, more than likely Biden now, there is going to be a significant stimulus and additional infrastructure spending,” Andy Brenner, head of international fixed income at National Alliance, said in a note.

And the odds on a Biden win are shortening, with opinion polls putting him well ahead nationally and enjoying leads in battleground states such as Florida, where polling website FiveThirtyEight says Trump is losing the crucial senior vote.

A Biden victory and Democrats taking the Senate and House is also being priced into markets, observers said, as traders grow increasingly optimistic for a bigger rescue plan than what was being discussed before talks were curtailed Tuesday.

The party had initially proposed a stimulus of more than $3 trillion before lowering it earlier this year.

All three major Wall Street indexes ended with gains of close to two percent.

– Brexit talks in focus –

Asia mostly followed suit. Tokyo rose one percent, while Sydney, Mumbai, Manila and Taipei added more than one percent. Seoul, Bangkok and Jakarta were also up.

Wellington jumped 1.8 percent after the New Zealand central bank indicated it could unveil fresh economy-boosting measures. The country’s dollar sank 0.4 percent against the US dollar on the news.

However, Hong Kong fell 0.2 percent after four days of gains, while Singapore was flat.

London, Paris and Frankfurt all enjoyed gains in early trade, while US futures were also healthily higher.

“The prospect of the Democrats sweeping all three levels of government continues to support stock markets in the run-up to the election day,” said Axi strategist Stephen Innes.

This “would put the Democrats in a position to all but rubberstamp an energetic fiscal stimulus bill while lavishing the country with significant investment in health care, education, and infrastructure,” he added.

“The only way traders will shift from this bias is if Trump recovers in the polls.”

However, he added that while investors were happy to take the pain of higher taxes and more market regulation for big stimulus, there could be a post-election drop in stocks as they comprehend such policies.

The vice-presidential debate between incumbent Mike Pence and Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris appeared to have a little immediate impact on markets.

Brexit talks continue to play on nerves, with EU Council President Charles Michel saying the bloc was keen for a deal “but not at any cost”, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson reaffirmed London’s desire for an agreement but being prepared to walk away if none was reached by October 15.

Fears the two will not reach a trade deal by next week’s summit are weighing on the pound and worrying markets, with many observers warning it would be economically devastating for Britain as it battles to recover from the coronavirus.

– Key figures around 0810 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 23,647.07 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.2 percent at 24,193.35 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: Closed for a holiday

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 5,953.37

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1773 from $1.1765 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2955 from $1.2913

Dollar/yen: UP at 105.99 yen from 105.96 yen

Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.87 pence from 91.04 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.9 percent at $40.30 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.1 percent at $42.45 per barrel

New York – Dow Jones: UP 1.9 percent to 28,303.46 (close)