The Day Arrives: Global Stocks Higher, US Futures Lower As America Begins Voting

The day has finally arrived and as of minutes ago voters in eastern states have begun voting for the next US president. Polls are open in eight states, including battlegrounds Virginia and New Hampshire, as well as in New York, where Clinton votes at a public school in Chappaqua, Trump at a public school in Manhattan.

To celebreate, European, Asian shares rise as exchange-rate volatility dies down in the final hours before the U.S. presidential election; S&P 500 index futures fall; oil, gold, silver rise, nickel climbs to one-year high.

RealClearPolitics poll of polls gives Clinton the edge by 3.4% so she is firm(ish) favourite and the FBI news on Sunday night that they have found nothing incriminating in their additional enquiries may give her an additional boost given that Trump seemingly got a boost when they discussed re-opening the case 11 days ago. However in the Brexit poll, which was seen as a similar establishment vs. anti-establishment vote, the last 6 polls showed the stay vote average 51.7% against 48.3% leave (excluding don't knows) - also a lead of 3.4%. The actually result saw the leave vote win with 51.9% of the vote and a winning margin of 3.8%. So when the numbers are as close as this and when we are seeing an anti-establishment movement that perhaps behaves differently to traditional election voters then the outcome is more uncertain, according to DB's Jim Reid.

Logistics wise, if we use the 2012 election as a roadmap then the election result was called at 11.38pm EST Tuesday night. Unsurprisingly, determining when we will actually know the outcome really comes down to how quickly the states get their counts done and whether or not those states are in play. As an example, Kentucky and Vermont were called within 5 minutes of polls closing in 2012 but it took 3 days for Florida to be called. Ohio also took nearly 4 hours. In any case, the first polls close at 6pm EST/11pm GMT with results announced from then on. Some of the significant and closer-run state closing times which are worth watching out for include Virginia (7pm EST/12am GMT), North Carolina and Ohio (7.30pm EST/12.30am GMT), Pennsylvania (8pm EST/1am GMT), Colorado (9pm EST/2am GMT), Iowa and and Nevada (10pm EST/3am GMT). The drama should be over by the time Alaska closes (1am EST/6am GMT) but you never know.

For those scoring hole by hole, then as is the tradition, the tiny New Hampshire town of Dixville has already called with Clinton winning by a 4-2 margin over Trump. Apparently an 8th voter was added to the electoral roll at close to midnight which caused some late drama in the town and so just missing their one-minute past midnight call!

The good news is that all those companies who have complained that consumers aren't buying their products and services due to election uncertainty should see an influx of willing buyers; the bad news is that there are no more excuses if they don't.

For global markets, today was greeted with more buying of risk assets on the back of yesterday surge in the US stock market, which has been The MSCI All Country World Index extend the last session’s rebound from a three-month low, with European and Asian shares advancing. A gauge of expected exchange-rate swings held at a one-week low and the won was the best performer among major currencies, a sign of investors’ confidence by the market that Trump's protectionist trade policies will be rejected in the vote, unless of course another "Brexit" outcome is unveiled in a little over 12 hours. Gold gained from its lowest level in a week and nickel climbed to a one-year high.

“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.”

As reported yesteday, on websites that take wagers on the election winner, Democratic candidate Clinton’s odds of victory are generally near or above 80 percent, boosted by Sunday’s news that the Federal Bureau of Investigation won’t revisit its decision against seeking criminal charges related to her e-mail practices while Secretary of State. Global equities slumped last week and haven assets rallied after the FBI said on Oct. 28 that it had reopened a probe into her communications.

“Markets are currently in the grip of a risk-seeking mood following the latest FBI news, which is perceived as raising the chances of a Clinton win,” said Imre Speizer, a market strategist at Westpac Banking Corp. in Wellington. “A Trump win would cause a major reversal of the recent moves, so markets will be mostly preoccupied by the election during the day ahead.”

“Although we have seen an improvement in risk appetite over the past 24 hours, markets remain wary of an election shock,” said Rodrigo Catril, a currency strategist at National Australia Bank Ltd. in Sydney. “A dollar-positive reaction is likely on news of a Clinton victory; a likely ‘risk off’ reaction to a Trump victory would mean dollar losses versus yen, Swiss franc and euro but gains elsewhere.”

The election results are expected to be announced as early as 8pm on Tuesday, but can be delayed until well in the evening, offering some prospect of calm on Tuesday as investors digest China trade data for October. Exports from Asia’s biggest economy dropped 7.3 percent from a year earlier in dollar terms, more than the 6 percent decline forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

The first polls close in Indiana, home to Trump running mate Mike Pence, the state’s governor, and Kentucky. Both states are heavily Republican and likely to be carried by Mr Trump. For a complete preview of election night see this post.

Heading into election day, Bloomberg notes that the Stoxx Europe 600 Index was up 0.3% in early trading, with almost two shares climbing for every one that fell. Deutsche Post AG climbed 1.3% after announcing third-quarter profit jumped more than threefold. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4 percent, led by gains in raw-materials producers. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed to a 10-month high and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was headed for its best close in a week. Futures on the S&P 500 Index were modestly lower after soaring on Monday in a post-FBI relief rally. 

While riskier assets are generally rising before the U.S. election, trading patterns around the U.K.’s referendum over European Union membership provide a cautionary tale. A similar rally in stocks, emerging markets and commodities on the day of the British vote gave way to a slump, and a rebound in haven assets, after the unexpected decision in favor of Brexit. The outlier this time around is the dollar, which is strengthening, having weakened before Britain’s plebiscite.

Looking at the day ahead, this morning in Europe we’re kicking off in Germany where the latest industrial production and trade data for September is due. Shortly after we’ll get trade data in France before the UK releases September industrial and manufacturing production data. Over in the US the early release is the October NFIB small business optimism survey (94.1 expected) while later on this afternoon the September JOLTS job openings report is due out. Away from the data the Fed’s Evans is due to speak this afternoon at 12.45pm GMT and also tonight at 5.20pm GMT, while the BoE’s Haldane also speaks at 5pm GMT in London. Clearly the big focus is away from the data however and on the US Election and which will almost certainly dictate how markets trade over the next 24 hours.

Bulletin headline summary from RanSquawk

  • European equities trade modestly higher with many sat on the sidelines ahead of the upcoming US Presidential election
  • As expected, a tight range bound session in FX, with some very minor moves of note as traders adjust positions into the run in of this much- hyped US election
  • Highlights include US election, US API crude oil inventories and comments from Fed's Evans & BoE's Haldane

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 2126
  • Stoxx 600 up less than 0.1% to 334
  • FTSE 100 up less than 0.1% to 6810
  • DAX down 0.2% to 10435
  • German 10Yr yield down less than 1bp to 0.15%
  • Italian 10Yr yield down less than 1bp to 1.7%
  • Spanish 10Yr yield down less than 1bp to 1.24%
  • S&P GSCI Index up 0.6% to 355.1
  • MSCI Asia Pacific up 0.4% to 138
  • Nikkei 225 down less than 0.1% to 17171
  • Hang Seng up 0.5% to 22909
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.5% to 3148
  • S&P/ASX 200 up 0.1% to 5258
  • US 10-yr yield down 2bps to 1.81%
  • Dollar Index down 0.1% to 97.68
  • WTI Crude futures up 0.4% to $45.08
  • Brent Futures up 0.6% to $46.42
  • Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,284
  • Silver spot up 0.6% to $18.31

Global Headline News

  • It’s Finally Time to Vote as Clinton, Trump Make Final Pitch: securing victory requires winning 270 electoral votes
  • Your Hour-by-Hour Guide to Following Obsessively on Election Day: all times are Eastern Standard Time
  • U.S. Election Guide to Markets: What to Watch Once It’s All Over: investors aligned with gamblers, polls on seeing a Clinton win
  • Blackstone Buys Landlord OfficeFirst, Said to Pay $3.7b: according to person familiar with the matter
  • Paschi Gets Cerved Offer for Credit Unit, Fortress Said to Bid: buyer would manage $9.5b of Monte Paschi’s bad loans
  • Tata Said to Avoid Deeper Writedowns With Thyssenkrupp Deal: ousted chief had warned of over $10 billion in impairments

Looking at regional markets, we start in Asia where stocks struggled to hold onto gains despite a positive start, with the Nikkei 225 (flat) opening up 0.5% before eventually slipping into unchanged territory. Risk sentiment was mixed, with much trepidation ahead of the US election and markets /news-flow very quiet. Tier-1 data from China took centre stage in the form of October's balance of trade and although the headline missed upon expectations, it did show the contraction in imports/exports easing and Chinese bourses outperformed as a result (Shanghai Comp +0.5%, Hang Seng +0.3%). Nothing new election-wise overnight - although the PBoC weakened the CNY band again, ahead of the vote.

Top Asian News

  • Japan 10-Year Bond Sale Draws Strongest Demand Since April 2014: Investors bet BOJ stimulus will cap risk of rise in yield
  • BAT Takes on Philip Morris in Japan With New Tobacco Device: Heated tobacco product will go on sale in Sendai in Dec.
  • China’s Exports Drop for a Seventh Month on Tepid Global Demand: Trade surplus widens to $49.1b
  • Morgan Stanley’s China Brokerage Partner Seeks Backdoor Listing: Shanghai Chinafortune to pay $723m for brokerage stake
  • India Plans to Sell $750 Million of Masala Bonds to Build Roads: Sale a part of efforts to seek cheaper funds overseas
  • Samsung Drawn Into Korean Political Crisis After Offices Raided: Prosecutors seeking evidence of potential illegal gifts

In Europe, markets are trading with caution ahead of the US elections with equities broadly in the green (albeit modestly so) with markets leaning towards a potential Clinton victory. Earnings have boosted European bourses with Credit Agricole trading higher by as much as 6%, ABF (+6%) also reported today and lead the FTSE 100 leader board, with Primark sales up 9% Y/Y. Core fixed income products gapped higher and since have traded in a tight range with bunds flat so far. Italian yields have risen this morning as Italy's 2017 budget woes continue with tension mounting between Renzi and the EU. EU's Junker is demanding a deficit reduction to deal with migration and the aftermath of the earthquakes.

Top European News

  • European Profits Down 1% So Far in Earnings Season: JPMorgan equity strategists including Emmanuel Cau and Mislav Matejka write in note
  • German Industrial Output Drops Most in More Than Two Years: production fell 1.8 percent vs estimated 0.5 percent decline
  • U.K. Factory Output Surges as Brexit Pound Impact Downplayed: decline in 3Q production is revised to 0.5%
  • M&S to Shutter Stores at Home and Abroad in Historic Retreat: new CEO plans to close 30 U.K. outlets and exit 10 countries
  • VW Chairman Poetsch Engulfed in Diesel Crisis as Probe Widens: former CFO named as third suspect in market- manipulation probe
  • Altice, SFR Fined $88mn for Jumping Gun on French Mergers: fine for starting to operate with acquired companies before the deals had received regulatory clearance
  • Credit Agricole Jumps as Trading Fuels Surge in Profit: lender books gains on reorganization; revenue climbs 12%
  • Deutsche Post Harvests Online-Shopping Boom With Record Profit: operating profit more than tripled in 3Q
  • Vestas Wind Rallies After Company Raises Full-Year Forecast: adjusted earnings before tax and interest beat estimates
  • AB Foods Forecasts Higher Profits as World Sugar Prices Rise: sugar unit has reached ‘turning point,’ says RBC analyst
  • ArcelorMittal 3Q Ebitda Misses; FY ’16 Cash Flow to Exceed Capex: 3Q Ebitda $1.9b vs est. $1.95b

In currencies, the JPMorgan Global FX Volatility Index was little changed, after falling on Monday by the most since June. The won strengthened 0.7 percent, its biggest gain in three weeks. Mexico’s peso, which tends to gain when Trump has a setback, was steady at about 18.59 a dollar after rallying 4.2 percent over the last three trading sessions. Nomura Holdings Inc. says the currency is likely to sink to 25 by year-end in the event of an election victory for Trump, who has said he will end or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement that governs trade between Mexico and the U.S.  The yen was little changed at 104.46 per dollar, after sliding 1.3 percent in the last session. The Japanese currency would probably strengthen to 99.50 within 24 hours of a Trump victory, and slip to 105.25 if Clinton wins, according to Scott Petruska, a Newton, Massachusetts-based senior adviser at SVB Financial Group.  South Africa’s rand weakened versus all of its major peers, weighed down by political risk. A measure of the currency’s expected volatility over the next three months has risen above that of the Mexican peso as investor attention shifts from the U.S. election to a tussle between South Africa’s president and finance minister for control of the nation’s purse strings.

In commodities, crude oil added 0.2 percent in New York, after climbing 1.9 percent on Monday from its lowest close since September. Russia, the world’s biggest energy producer, is “on board” with an Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreement to limit production to help re-balance the market, according to the group. U.S. government data on Wednesday are forecast to show the nation’s stockpiles expanded by 1.5 million barrels last week. Gold was up 0.2% at $1,285 an ounce, after sliding 1.8 percent from a one-month high in the last session. It surged 2.3 percent last week as opinion polls indicated Clinton’s lead over Trump was narrowing.  Nickel advanced 1.2 percent in London and copper held near a one-year high. The global nickel market faces a second year of shortage in 2017 as contracting ore shipments from the Philippines prompt China to trim output, according to Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Japan’s top producer. A recent improvement in commodity prices is due to growth in global manufacturing and higher demand from China, according to Adrian Mowat, JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst. The increase in metals despite dollar strength shows the move is driven by fundamentals, he said.

Looking at the day ahead, this morning in Europe we’re kicking off in Germany where the latest industrial production and trade data for September is due. Shortly after we’ll get trade data in France before the UK releases September industrial and manufacturing production data. Over in the US the early release is the October NFIB small business optimism survey (94.1 expected) while later on this afternoon the September JOLTS job openings report is due out. Away from the data the Fed’s Evans is due to speak this afternoon at 12.45pm GMT and also tonight at 5.20pm GMT, while the BoE’s Haldane also speaks at 5pm GMT in London. Clearly the big focus is away from the data however and on the US Election and which will almost certainly dictate how markets trade over the next 24 hours.

* * *

US Event Calendar

  • 6am: NFIB Small Business Optimism, Oct., est. 94.1 (prior 94.1)
  • 7:45am: Fed’s Evans speaks in New York
  • 8am: JOLTS Job Openings, Sept., est. 5.488m (prior 5.443m)
  • 8:55am: Redbook weekly sales
  • 4:30pm: API weekly oil inventories

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

By this time tomorrow we will probably know who the next US president will be. The most difficult challenge will be to work out the optimum time to set one's alarm on this side of the Atlantic to have the best combination of sleep and knowing the result at the earliest point. I stayed up all night during the Brexit aftermath and felt like death for about 3 days! RealClearPolitics poll of polls gives Clinton the edge by 3.4% so she is firm(ish) favourite and the FBI news on Sunday night that they have found nothing incriminating in their additional enquiries may give her an additional boost given that Trump seemingly got a boost when they discussed re-opening the case 11 days ago. However in the Brexit poll, which was seen as a similar establishment vs. anti-establishment vote, the last 6 polls showed the stay vote average 51.7% against 48.3% leave (excluding don't knows) - also a lead of 3.4%. The actually result saw the leave vote win with 51.9% of the vote and a winning margin of 3.8%. So when the numbers are as close as this and when we are seeing an anti-establishment movement that perhaps behaves differently to traditional election voters then the outcome is more uncertain.

Logistics wise then, if we use the 2012 election as a roadmap then the election result was called at 11.38pm EST Tuesday night or 4.38am GMT Wednesday morning in London. Unsurprisingly, determining when we will actually know the outcome really comes down to how quickly the states get their counts done and whether or not those states are in play. As an example, Kentucky and Vermont were called within 5 minutes of polls closing in 2012 but it took 3 days for Florida to be called. Ohio also took nearly 4 hours. In any case, polling stations will open this morning at 6am EST/11am GMT and the first polls close at 6pm EST/11pm GMT with results announced from then on. Some of the significant and closer-run state closing times which are worth watching out for include Virginia (7pm EST/12am GMT), North Carolina and Ohio (7.30pm EST/12.30am GMT), Pennsylvania (8pm EST/1am GMT), Colorado (9pm EST/2am GMT), Iowa and Nevada (10pm EST/3am GMT) and California (11pm EST/4am GMT). The drama should be over by the time Alaska closes (1am EST/6am GMT) but you never know. So if you’re London based, you might want to switch your TV’s on from about 4am GMT. For those scoring hole by hole, then as is the tradition, the tiny New Hampshire town of Dixville has already called with Clinton winning by a 4-2 margin over Trump. Apparently an 8th voter was added to the electoral roll at close to midnight which caused some late drama in the town and so just missing their one-minute past midnight call!

Markets are certainly going into today in a much better mood now after that FBI news on Sunday night saw risk assets claw their way back following a near two-week selloff. In fact, the S&P 500 rallied +2.22% for its best day since March 1st and in the process recouped over two-thirds of that -3.07% nine consecutive day decline. There were also big moves for the Dow (+2.08%), Nasdaq (+2.37%), Stoxx 600 (+1.53%) and DAX (+1.93%). It was much the same for credit markets too with CDX IG rallying 4.5bps and taking it back to the tights of October 27th, prior to when the initial FBI headlines broke. FX markets were headlined by big moves for the high yielders including the Mexican Peso (+2.35%), South African Rand (+1.69%), Brazilian Real (+0.96%) and Aussie Dollar (+0.73%). In commodity markets we also saw WTI Oil recover +1.86% although that is still in the context of that -9.51% plummet last week. The nine-day surge for the VIX also finally came to an end with the index tumbling nearly 19%, the biggest one-day decline since June 28th.

At the other end of the risk spectrum it was the usual safe havens, having outperformed last week, which fell victim to a wave of selling. Gold (-1.31%), the Yen (-1.30%) and the Swiss Franc (-0.61%) stood out while rates markets were also weaker. 10y Treasury yields finished 5bps higher at 1.827% and 10y Bund yields ended 1.9bps higher at 0.151%.

This morning in Asia the broadly positive sentiment has continued although moves are a lot more modest by comparison going into today’s main event. The Hang Seng (+0.36%), Shanghai Comp (+0.61%), Kospi (+0.13%) and ASX (+0.09%) have all edged higher while bourses in Japan are more or less flat. Commodity markets are also fairly unchanged while the Greenback is chopping back and forth between gains and losses. US equity index futures (-0.15%) are trading fairly cautiously too.

There’s also been some focus on the latest China trade data this morning. In US Dollar terms, exports printed at a fairly sluggish -7.3% yoy in October and slightly softer than expected (-6.0% expected) although that did mark an improvement from that sudden -10.0% drop in September. Imports (-1.4% yoy vs. -1.0% expected) also contracted a little more than expected, while the trade surplus has risen to $49bn from $42bn the month prior. It was a similar story in renminbi terms where exports (-3.2% yoy vs. -0.8% expected) were down more than expected, but improved from -5.6% in September. The Aussie Dollar (-0.34%) has been the biggest loser in FX following that data.

Moving on. Last night we saw the latest quarterly Fed Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey released. The Q3 survey showed that on balance, banks moved closer to more balanced lending standards on commercial and industrial loans in the quarter. For large and mid-sized firms the number of banks tightening/easing was 4.4%/2.9% with 92.6% unchanged. In the previous 4 quarters the number tightening was 9.9%, 10.1%, 11.0% and 8.8% from most recent to least. The shift over the last quarter has largely been from tightening to unchanged with those easing conditions remaining at the low levels it has been over this period. So although this still marks a fifth quarter of tightening conditions, the momentum is more positive. Perhaps the recovery in oil related lending has helped confidence. Interestingly for small firms, the tightening/easing split was 3.0%/4.5% which compares to 10.0%/2.9% in the last survey, so that’s a reasonable swing back in favour of easing.

There was good news also in the latest Fed labour market conditions index where the October reading turned to a positive 0.7 following two negative readings in the two months prior (-0.1 September and -0.3 August). While there were a number of upward revisions to prior months’ data too it’s worth noting though that the 12m rolling average still remains negative at -4.0 having first turned negative in August.
There wasn’t much else to report from the remaining economic data yesterday. The other US data released was the September consumer credit print which came in at $19.3bn (vs. $17.5bn expected) with the increase in credit now +6.3% yoy. In Europe the notable takeaway was the Sentix investor confidence reading for the Euro area this month which rose a much better than expected 4.6pts to 13.1 (vs. 8.6 expected). That is actually the highest reading this year and since December while the expectations reading jumped to 14 this month from 10.8 in October. Elsewhere, retail sales for the Euro area were soft in September (-0.2% mom vs. -0.3% expected) while Germany factors orders for September were disappointing (-0.6% mom vs. +0.2% expected), with volatile heavy transport equipment orders weighing on the data in particular.

Before we look at today’s calendar, yesterday we got the latest CSPP holdings data from the ECB, showing that total holdings as of November 4th now stand at €40.356bn. That implies total net purchases settled last week of €2.541bn or a daily run rate of €508m. That compares to the average daily run rate since the program started of €384m and so suggestive of another strong week with no sign of a slowdown into the US election. In fact, it was the third strongest week since the CSPP started. Also released was the monthly primary/secondary purchase split. During October the share of primary purchases rose to 23.3% from 19.8% in September, with the overall primary/secondary split for the portfolio as of end October standing at 13.6%/86.4%. This morning Michal Jezek in my team has released a short update on the program and the recent dynamics entitled “The ECB Puts More Weight on Primary Market Corporate Bond Purchases”. See your email shortly before this for a copy or contact Michal.Jezek@db.com.

Looking at the day ahead, this morning in Europe we’re kicking off in Germany where the latest industrial production and trade data for September is due. Shortly after we’ll get trade data in France before the UK releases September industrial and manufacturing production data. Over in the US the early release is the October NFIB small business optimism survey (94.1 expected) while later on this afternoon the September JOLTS job openings report is due out. Away from the data the Fed’s Evans is due to speak this afternoon at 12.45pm GMT and also tonight at 5.20pm GMT, while the BoE’s Haldane also speaks at 5pm GMT in London. Clearly the big focus is away from the data however and on the US Election and which will almost certainly dictate how markets trade over the next 24 hours.