Asian Stocks, Mexican Peso Bounce as Markets Score One for Clinton

SYDNEY (Reuters) -
People walk past an electronic board showing Hong Kong stock index outside a local bank in Hong Kong, Friday, July 8, 2016. Asian shares mostly fell Friday, with investors cautious following the plunge in oil prices overnight and concerns that a correction in commodity prices is underway, and as they await the release of U.S. inflation and June non-farm payrolls data later in the day. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
People walk past an electronic board showing Hong Kong stock index outside a local bank in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Asian stocks recovered from an early bout of nerves while the Mexican peso surged on Tuesday as investors awarded the first presidential debate to Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump.

Markets have tended to see Clinton as the candidate of the status quo, while few are sure what a Trump presidency might mean for U.S. foreign policy, international trade deals or the domestic economy.

Opinion polls have shown the two candidates in a very tight race, with the latest Reuters/Ipsos polling showing Clinton ahead by 4 percentage points, with 41 percent of likely voters.

EMini futures for the S&P 500 recovered to gain 0.6 percent, an unusually energetic move for Asian hours. The reaction in Europe was much the same, with euro STOXX 50 futures up 0.7 percent.

As early risk aversion faded, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan recouped early losses to rise 0.6 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei swung 0.8 percent higher, having been down 1.5 percent at one stage. The U.S. dollar rebounded to 100.83 yen from a one-month low around 100.08.

“Markets started to call the debate for Hillary within the first 15 minutes or so, with the Mexican peso surging in what is probably its busiest Asian session in years,” said Sean Callow, a senior currency analyst at Westpac in Sydney.

“The bounce in S&P futures, AUD and USD/JPY all show that investors were watching closely and didn’t hesitate to declare Trump the loser.”

The dollar sank 1.7 percent on the peso, lifting the peso from an all-time trough hit in recent days on concerns that a Trump presidency would threaten Mexico’s exports to the United States, its single biggest market.

“There’s a thing called ‘Trump thermometer,'” said David Bloom, London-based global head of forex strategy at HSBC.

“If you want to know who won the presidential debate, don’t go to Twitter or Facebook. Just look at the dollar/Mexico peso.”

Much the same goes for the Canadian dollar, which touched its lowest since March in early trade before rallying to $1.3171 on its U.S. counterpart.

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar was a fraction firmer at 96.3677 and the euro was steady at $1.1242 .

Other safe-havens ebbed, with yields on U.S. 10-year Treasuries rising a basis point to 1.60 percent.

Online betting companies in Australia shortened the odds on a Clinton win in the wake of the debate, leaving her as the clear favorite among punters.

A CNN poll of viewers, which the broadcaster noted was likely skewed somewhat to Democrats, showed that 62 percent thought Clinton won the debate with 27 percent for Trump.

In commodity markets, oil consolidated its gains, having bounced 3 percent on Monday as the world’s largest producers gathered in Algeria to discuss ways to tackle a glut of crude that has battered prices for two years now.

Brent crude was off a slight 16 cents at $47.19 a barrel, while U.S. crude dipped 8 cents to $45.85.