US Elections 2016: Final countdown

Asian markets rally on news of Clinton being cleared

Investors monitor stock prices in the trading gallery of the RHB Investment Bank headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
Investors monitor stock prices in the trading gallery of the RHB Investment Bank headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Stock markets across Asia cheered the news that US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had been cleared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the latest flare-up over her use of a private e-mail server as secretary of state.

Investors, increasingly skittish as the United States election day nears, are seeking continuity and stability under Mrs Clinton, rather than the unpredictability they fear if Republican candidate Donald Trump wins the White House, analysts say.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) snapped a six-day losing streak, rising 0.44 per cent to close at 2,800.95 yesterday. Japan's Nikkei 225 was one of the best performers, rising 1.61 per cent. Australia put on 1.35 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.7 per cent, while the Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.26 per cent.

"Investors want Clinton to win because she represents policy continuation, whereas Trump has shown a very disruptive temperament," said CMC Markets senior sales trader Alex Wijaya. Mr Trump's vow to hit China with tough trade policies has been particularly alarming at a time when the global economy and corporates are still struggling with a prolonged slowdown, Mr Wijaya said.

Markets had been jittery since Oct 28, when FBI director James Comey said a new batch of e-mails had been discovered.

As the election race tightened, investors grew more nervous. Before yesterday's gain, the STI had pared some 1.4 per cent over the previous six sessions, part of the 3 per cent drop over the past month.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had dropped 1.9 per cent in the same period.

Local remisier Alvin Yong said that if Mr Trump wins the election, "certainly we would see a major knee-jerk sell-off on the day, but a Brexit scenario where the markets find their footing quickly is more likely than a full-blown crash".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2016, with the headline 'Asian markets rally on news of Clinton being cleared'. Print Edition | Subscribe