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World equities climb on eve of US election

·3-min read
The world awaits the outcome of Tuesday's presidential election between Democratic candidate Joe Biden and incumbent Republican Donald Trump

Global equity markets moved higher Monday after last week's painful worldwide sell-off, with attention focused on the US presidential election against a backdrop of rising coronavirus infections there and in Europe.

After a hesitant start, Europe rebounded sharply as dealers shrugged off a growing number of virus lockdowns in the region, though analysts cautioned against complacency.

That was followed by a relatively placid session on Wall Street, where markets moved past last week's rout that culminated in both the worst week and month since March.

The Dow finished up 1.6 percent, led by energy and industrial equities that are expected to benefit from an economic recovery.

Oil prices turned higher after days of losses on worries about demand as traders hoped that the OPEC cartel and its allies might hold off on planned production increases.

- 'Encouraging rebound' -

"It's an encouraging rebound that we are seeing -- but I am not getting carried away yet," Oanda analyst Craig Erlam told AFP.

"There are so many major risk events over the next few days," he warned, adding that a contested US vote would be "the worst possible outcome."

Besides the election, this week's US calendar includes a Federal Reserve meeting and the October employment report.

Polls show challenger Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump, but political analysts say a Trump victory is still possible and the final outcome may not be clear on Tuesday night or even on Wednesday.

A win by Biden and a Democratic takeover of the Senate could position the United States to enact a generous fiscal stimulus package, which would be positive for stocks. But such an outcome would also increase the odds of higher corporate taxes, a headwind for Wall Street.

Analysts attributed Monday's gains on to bargain-hunting after the October pullback, rather than to pre-election maneuvering.

"We had stretched to the downside," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities, who added that the gains were propelled by sectors connected to an economic recovery such as energy and industrials.

After months of rallying from March lows, equities were brought to a juddering halt in October as virus cases surged, forcing European governments to re-impose tough lockdown measures that plunged a tentative economic rebound into chaos.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the weekend said England would implement a four-week lockdown from Thursday to temper a second wave, following similar measures taken by Austria, France, Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Germany, Italy and Spain are also enforcing stricter containment measures.

- Key figures around 2050 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 1.6 percent at 26,925.05 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 1.2 percent at 3,310.24 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.4 percent at 10,957.61 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.4 percent at 5,654.97 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 2.0 percent at 11,788.28 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 2.1 percent at 4,691.14 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 2.1 percent at 3,019.54 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.4 percent at 23,295.48 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.5 percent at 24,460.01 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: FLAT at 3,225.11 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1639 from $1.1647 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: UP at 104.76 yen from 104.66 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2918 from $1.2947

Euro/pound: UP at 90.23 pence from 90.09 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.8 percent at $36.81 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.7 percent at $38.97 per barrel