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Global stocks move higher as US voters cast ballots

Global stock markets mostly moved higher on Tuesday as Americans headed to the polls in critical midterm elections.

The dollar clawed back some of its recent losses versus the euro, while Chinese demand expectations were keeping oil prices in check.

Europe's main markets were showing modest gains some two hours from the close save for a tiny London dip.

On Wall Street the Dow was up 0.4 percent shortly after the opening bell, while the broader S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq wobbled around before also moving higher.

"Those US midterm elections today might keep investors on the sidelines a bit before they make any major decisions," noted Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson.

Polls opened Tuesday in crucial US elections that could decide the political future of both President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump -- who has all but announced he will seek the White House again in 2024.

Biden's Democrats are facing a gargantuan struggle to hang on to Congress, after a race the president has cast as a "defining" moment for US democracy -- while Trump's Republicans have campaigned hard on kitchen-table issues like inflation and crime.

Polls show Republicans are likely to win at least one house of Congress -- and some see the prospect of further Washington gridlock as a scenario that lessens the risk of policy uncertainty.

"Consensus is that investors prefer political deadlock as it prevents any significant shifts in policy," added Scope Markets analyst James Hughes.

"With that looking like a real possibility, the real market turbulence may appear later in the week."

Politics aside, investors are also waiting on US inflation data due on Thursday for a pointer on the interest path ahead.

In Asia, the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock markets sank as speculation about a rollback of China's strict zero-Covid policies fuelled market volatility, but Tokyo ended 1.3 percent ahead.

- Crypto crunch -

Elsewhere, in the world of crypto finance, the native token of the FTX crypto derivatives exchange platform slumped after the CEO of rival platform Binance said his firm was liquidating its holdings amid concerns about FTX's finances.

Bitcoin was down 5.3 percent to $19,583, ending a relatively bullish October run. and FTX's FTT token slumped 25.4 percent to 16.63 dollars, its lowest since early 2021.

The crypto industry is still licking its wounds since so-called stablecoin TerraUSD and a linked token, Luna, collapsed in May this year, knocking tens of billions of nominative value off the market.

"Given the current conditions and state of the crypto community, which is still under the horrors of Terra Luna, another shock of FTX's exchange could draw some serious blood out of the crypto industry, and this means that Bitcoin price could actually revisit the price level of $10K, which will be complete chaos for the crypto market," said Naeem Aslam. chief market analyst with Avatrade.

- Key figures around 1330 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.4 percent at 32,956.33 points

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,304.89

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.1 percent at 6,420.68

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.6 percent at 13,607.42

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5 percent at 3,725.97

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.3 percent at 27,872.11 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.2 percent at 16,557.31 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,064.49 (close)

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.1454 from $1.1514 on Monday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0002 from $1.0020

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 146.35 from 146.93 yen

Euro/pound: UP at 87.33 pence from 87.03 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.3 percent at $91.47 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.1 percent at $97.86 per barrel

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