HONG KONG, Nov 7 – Asian equities staged a rebound and the Mexican peso rallied Monday as traders breathed a sigh of relief after the head of the FBI said market-favourite Hillary Clinton would not face charges over her use of a private email server.
Investors were sent into a funk last week after James Comey said messages linked to the Democratic presidential nominee were being looked at, sending rival Donald Trump surging in opinion polls just days before the November 8 vote.
The former secretary of state is considered by most investors to be a safer, more stable bet than Trump, who is seen as a loose cannon, with policies many fear could wreck the world’s top economy.
However, on Sunday Comey announced he would not change his July recommendation that Clinton not be prosecuted for putting US secrets at risk.
“Markets are likely to remove some of the risk premium taken as a precaution against a Trump victory now that Hillary Clinton will not be charged over her use of a private email server,” said CMC Markets chief analyst Ric Spooner.
“However, an element of uncertainty remains over this election. It seems unlikely that markets will make a full ‘risk on’ move until Clinton is declared the winner.”
Mexican peso rallies
Tokyo’s Nikkei ended the morning session 1.4 percent higher while Hong Kong was up 0.3 percent, Sydney added 1.2 percent and Seoul gained 0.8 percent. Wellington soared more than two percent and Singapore put on 0.4 percent.
Futures on Wall Street also rallied, with the broad-market S&P 500 index up 1.4 percent and the Dow 1.1 percent higher.
The news also provided strong support for the Mexican peso, which soared almost two percent against the dollar Monday, having been battered last week.
The peso is considered a proxy for Trump’s chances owing to his anti-Mexican rhetoric throughout the campaign including his pledge to remove undocumented migrants, build a wall and tear up a trade deal.
Also helping stocks was a solid US October jobs report which gave the Federal Reserve fresh ammunition to raise rates in December, while the bank’s Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said the labour market was in a “powerful” recovery and that inflation was picking up.
The dollar rallied on the FBI news, breaking back above 104 yen, while also ticking back up against the pound.
The sterling surged last week after Thursday’s London court ruling that the British government would need parliamentary approval to officially move to pull out of the European Union.
The pound pushed above $1.25 to its highest level in a month but eased slightly Monday.
Key figures at 0230 GMT
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.4 percent at 17,135.40 (break)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.3 percent at 22,714.68
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,118.12
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2483 from $1.2519 Friday
Dollar/Mexican peso: DOWN at 18.6918 pesos from 19.0266 pesos
Euro/pound: DOWN at 88.93 pence from 88.96 pence
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1103 from $1.1137
Dollar/yen: UP at 104.09 yen from 103.04 yen
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 42 cents at $44.49 a barrel
Oil – Brent North Sea: UP 36 cents at $45.94
New York – Dow: DOWN 0.2 percent at 17,888.28 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 1.4 percent at 6,693.26 (close)