Asian shares crept higher and the Mexican peso jumped on Monday as markets widened the odds of a victory by Republican nominee Donald Trump in his U.S. presidential bid as a second debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton got under way.
A holiday in Tokyo limited the early reaction and MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up a bare 0.18 percent.
Australian stocks rose 0.4 percent, while EMini futures for the S&P 500 added 0.3 percent.
Trump faces the biggest crisis of his 16-month-old campaign after a tape of him making vulgar comments about women deepened fissures with establishment Republicans.
Presidential betting markets have lengthened the odds on a Trump victory, while the FiveThirtyEight site of well-regarded forecaster Nate Silver put the probability of a Clinton win at over 81 percent.
Markets generally see Clinton as a known factor with middle of the road policies. There is far more uncertainty about what a Trump administration would mean for U.S. foreign policy, trade, the economy and even governance at the Federal Reserve.
In particular, Trumps’ plans to slap tariffs on imports and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are seen as very negative for Mexico and Canada, which is why their currencies swing when his odds of winning change.
Both currencies were on the rise on Monday with the U.S. dollar down 2 percent on the Mexican peso at 18.93 and off 0.5 percent on its Canadian counterpart.
The dollar was steady on the safe-haven yen at 103.02 , while the euro was little changed at $1.1196.
POUND IN PERIL
Sterling was steadier around $1.2439 after its flash crash last Friday, though dealers braced for more volatility amid concerns about a “hard” Brexit.
A survey out on Monday showed key measures of business investment and turnover confidence hit four-year lows in the third quarter.
“The uncertainty of leaving the single market is causing enormous concern over the future of the UK economy and the funding of its twin deficits,” said analysts at ANZ.
“Moreover, the rhetoric from the UK government on immigration and EU legislation has hardened of late at the same time as the EU’s position is also hardening.”
There was some relief that U.S. payrolls data were solid enough in September but not so hot as to add to the risk of a rate hike from the Federal Reserve rate hike.
Fed fund futures <0#FF:> imply less than 10 percent chance of a move in November, rising to around 65 percent for December.
On Wall Street, the Dow ended Friday down 0.15 percent, while the S&P 500 lost 0.33 percent and the Nasdaq 0.27 percent.
In commodity markets, oil prices dipped further early Monday as players took profits following a strong rally last week spurred by talk of OPEC output cuts.
Benchmark Brent was off 48 cents at $51.45 a barrel, while U.S. crude eased 49 cents to $49.33.
Spot gold regained some ground to $1,262.71, after suffering its largest weekly drop in over three years.