US stock futures gain and the dollar slips, as millions of Americans head to vote in the presidential election
- US stock futures pointed to a 1% rally at the start of trade on Wall Street, while the
dollarfell broadly, as investors pared back some of the positions established over the last week ahead of Tuesday's presidential election.
Europe, basic resources stocks, oil and banks gained, despite another round of lockdown measures in Italy, where COVID-19infections are surging again.
- Gold and silver edged higher, while the dollar fell against trade-sensitive
currencies, including the Australian dollar and the Mexican peso.
US blue-chip indices looked set to rise on Tuesday, as stock futures rallied and the dollar eased, while American voters began to head to the polls to elect a president, following one of the most divisive campaigns in recent memory for the race for the White House.
US futures on the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 rose between 0.9% and 1.3%, suggesting an extension of the gains posted on Monday, when the Dow Jones index rallied by around 400 points, its largest one-day gain in a month.
Almost 100 million people have already voted. Polls show former Vice President Joe Biden is maintaining a comfortable lead over President Donald Trump overall, although that gap is narrower in some of the key battleground states.
"The Dow jumping 400 points yesterday shows the exact same nervy trading that sent it lower hundred of points last week. We don't read this as a 'confident in stocks' 400 points but more an 'too uncertain to keep selling' 400 points," London Capital Group strategist Jasper Lawler said
"A 10-point Biden lead according to a poll from the NBC/Wall Street journal may have offered investors some more strength in their convictions."
European share indices rallied, despite yet another wave of mobility restrictions coming into force in Italy, where travel to and from the worst-affected areas and a series of nighttime curfews came into effect, and a terror attack in the Austrian capital of Vienna that left two dead and at least a dozen injured.
The Stoxx 600 rose 1.2%, thanks to gains across more "cyclical sectors", such as basic resources, oil and gas and banking stocks, which tend to come under fire when investor risk aversion picks up.
"The focus will undoubtedly be the US election which takes place today. The first results are due to start coming in this evening, with volatility expected in anticipation of this historic event," analysts at broker IG said in a note.
Yields on the 10-year US Treasury note were mostly unchanged, holding around 0.862%, while the dollar fell against most currencies, both developed-economy and emerging, reflecting the broader push into riskier assets on Tuesday.
The dollar index fell 0.4%, under pressure from losses against the euro, the pound and the Swiss franc. It is still close to its highest in a month, however. The dollar suffered its largest daily loss against the Australian dollar, which often serves as a proxy for Chinese trade. The Aussie dollar was up 0.6% on the day.
"Looking at the FX implications, we expect any early signs that the election is leaning in favour of Biden to put pressure on the dollar and see AUD and NOK as the potential biggest beneficiaries," ING strategist Francesco Pesole said.
The oil price rose by nearly 2%, lifted in part by the weakness in the dollar, but also by investors paring back some of the bearish positions established in the past few days that have sent the value of a barrel of crude to its lowest since May.
Oil has lost almost a fifth of its value since late August alone, as repeated outbreaks of COVID-19, most recently in Europe, have seen ever-tighter lockdown restrictions put into place. On Thursday, a national lockdown takes effect across England, home to around 55 million people, and international travel will be banned.
Saudi Aramco, the Saudi state oil company and the world's largest producer, posted a 45% drop in profits in the third quarter of the year, although the company did maintain its dividend payments to shareholders.
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