Asian shares edge up with investors cautiously optimistic on Clinton win as US election day dawns

People line up to vote early outside the San Diego County Elections Office in San Diego. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - Most Asian stock markets rose on Tuesday (Nov 8) ahead of the US presidential election, with investors optimistic but cautious over improving prospects for a win by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The Mexican peso, which strengthens as the perceived chances of an election victory by Republican Donald Trump fall, retained its strong gains from Monday.

The US dollar, which also advanced on Monday, edged slightly lower.

Boosting Clinton's chances of winning, and markets globally, was a statement by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation on Sunday standing by its July finding that Clinton was not guilty of criminal wrongdoing in her use of a private email server.

That came after the FBI announced on Oct 28 it was reviewing additional emails relating to the server while Clinton was secretary of state, sending markets around the world tumbling.

Clinton is seen by investors as offering greater certainty and stability, and, until last week's stumble, had been seen as the likely victor in Tuesday's presidential vote.

While polls last week showed Trump closing in on Clinton's lead, at least five major polls on Monday showed Clinton still ahead.

But investors remained wary, noting Britain's shock vote in June to leave the European Union had defied most polls and bookmakers' odds.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.3 per cent.

But Japan's Nikkei surrendered earlier gains to trade 0.2 per cent lower, weighed down by the yen's rise following Monday's losses.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ticked up 0.3 per cent.

China's CSI 300 index index added 0.5 per cent, with a weaker yuan outweighing bigger-than-expected declines in both imports and exports and a smaller-than-forecast trade balance in October.

The MSCI World index was little changed, maintaining its 1.6 per cent gain seen on Monday, its biggest single-day jump in almost 19 weeks.

"As markets head into the US election, a final recalibration of risk is in train," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, wrote in a note. "Asia-Pacific markets were the first to adjust to the political shift, and may trade more modestly today after roaring back to life yesterday."

Overnight, Wall Street shares soared between 2.1 and 2.4 per cent, recording their biggest one-day percentage gain since March 1, with the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average recovering all their losses from the previous week.

The dollar, which recorded its biggest one-day increase against the yen in almost four months on Monday, surrendered 0.1 per cent to trade at 104.33 yen on Tuesday.

The US currency was little changed versus the Mexican peso at 18.58, after sliding 2.3 per cent on Monday, its biggest one-day drop in six weeks.

The Mexican currency is seen as a proxy for bets on the US election because Mexico is considered most vulnerable to Trump's trade policies as 80 per cent of its exports go to the United States.

The euro which retreated 0.9 per cent on Monday, was little changed at US$1.10385.

Crude oil futures were mixed as concerns about the stronger dollar and doubts over Opec's planned production cuts ate into the broad revival in risk appetite.

US crude slipped 0.1 per cent to US$44.86 a barrel, after advancing 1.9 per cent on Monday. Global benchmark Brent rose 0.15 per cent to US$46.22, extending Monday's 1.3 per cent jump.

As some caution returned after Monday's exuberance, safe haven gold climbed 0.1 per cent to US$1,281.12 an ounce, erasing some of its 1.7 per cent loss from the previous session.

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