Asian stocks up as US tallies presidential vote
BANGKOK (AP) - Asian stock markets rose early on Wednesday as traders watched the final hours of a cliffhanger US presidential election whose conclusion would allow leaders of the world's biggest economy to focus on issues other than the campaign.
Traders say one of the most pressing issues facing the US is the looming "fiscal cliff", a combination of higher taxes and government spending cuts that automatically takes effect unless Congress acts by Jan 1. The total impact next year could be as high as US$800 billion (S$978 billion).
Deciding the election is the first step toward a resolution. President Barack Obama is locked in a tight race with Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Voting took place in the US on Tuesday and a handful of states had reported results by the time Asian markets opened on Wednesday.
"Whoever wins will face the colossal task of resolving the looming fiscal cliff but for now markets are hoping for a decisive outcome," Mitul Kotecha of Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong wrote in a market commentary.