UK markets closed

What traders will be watching on election night

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
A trader walks past a display showing financial data at the offices of CMC Markets in the City of London. Photo: Daniel Sorabji/AFP via Getty Images

Traders will be staying up through the night on Thursday to watch the general election results as they roll in.

Banks and brokers across the City of London are asking staff to work overtime to guard against any election surprises — or profit if things go as expected.

While UK stock markets will be closed as the results start rolling in, the pound will still be changing hands in Asian markets. Big moves are forecast.

Traders will be busily buying and selling sterling as news filters in throughout the night, ensuring their clients are protected from any wild swings and positioned to profit from any bounces.

Here are the key milestones the City will be watching on election night:

  • 10pm — The Exit Poll: Reporting restrictions ban speculation about the result until polls close at 10pm. An exit poll forecasting the result will be released almost immediately after these restrictions lift. The exit poll is conducted by YouGov, which surveys voters at strategically important polling stations across the country. It will be distributed to all broadcasters and has historically been a good barometer of the final result.

    “This will help define the night,” an employee at a major US bank told Yahoo Finance UK. “As they have been quite accurate recently, there should be a good steer on the outcome and some trading for the following 15 to 30 minutes.”

  • 1am-2am — Key seats announce: The results are announced constituency by constituency, meaning the overall picture emerges slowly. However, analysts and traders will get a sense of which way things are going from certain early results.

    Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said traders will be watching these key seats: Workington, which should report around 1am; Bury South, which should report around 2am; Clywd South and West Bromwich East, two more constituencies to report around 2am; and West Bromwich West, to report around 2am.

  • 3am-5am — The rest of the results roll in: Results from the UK’s 650 constituencies will continue to roll in throughout the night, with most results expected by 5am.

    Traders will be poised to head to nearby hotels or quiet corners of the office to get some shut eye or be glued to the screens, depending on how things look.

  • 5am — Traders gear up for full trading day: Whether they’re waking up from a brief sleep or downing their umpteenth coffee, 5am Friday is when activity will once again start to pick up.

    With the results likely clear, traders will be scanning the headlines for signs of the what comes next.

  • 8am — Stock markets open: The London Stock Exchange opens for business at 8am and equity traders won’t waste time getting to work.