LONDON (AFP) — Europe’s main stock markets wobbled in cautious deals on Tuesday as Election Day arrived in the United States.
Frankfurt stocks edged higher, London teetered lower while Paris flatlined, as voting began in the presidential poll which pits Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton against Republican Donald Trump.
All three European markets had soared Monday by close to two percent in a global rally after the FBI cleared Clinton in an email probe.
Voters in nine states got first crack at electing the new president, with the rest of the country due to get started later in the day. Polls opened at 6 a.m. in nine states, mainly in the east.
Some 40 million Americans have already cast ballots in states that allow early voting, and opinion polls suggest that 69-year-old former first lady Clinton has a slight edge.
There remains unease however, with maverick tycoon Trump having rallied from a double-digit deficit in some polls to within striking distance of Clinton, while analysts highlighted Britain’s shock EU exit vote.
“Investors are still understandably reluctant to do much of anything on this electoral Tuesday,” noted Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.
“Looking ahead to the US open and the markets are in for more of the same.”
He added: “In terms of the election Clinton seems to have momentum on her side.
“She is the clear market-favorite. Of course, this was basically the situation for the Remain camp pre-referendum.”
Most Asian markets extended gains Tuesday on hopes Clinton will beat Trump — and while some opinion polls predict her narrow win, others indicate the race is too close to call.
“Cautious investors adopt a wait-and-see policy as Election Day finally arrives in the United States,” said Andy McLevey, head of dealing at stockbroker Interactive Investor.
“Having had their fingers burnt in the aftermath of the UK EU referendum, it is of little surprise many have paused for breath as despite polls signalling a Hillary Clinton victory seems likely, it is still too close to call and we may see some jitters as the day progresses.”
Global equities had surged Monday after the FBI said it would not pursue criminal charges against Clinton over her use of a private email server while secretary of state, dealing a blow to Trump.
FBI sparked turmoil
Monday’s rally followed a week of turmoil sparked by the FBI’s announcement on October 28 it was looking into the issue, despite having cleared her once already in July.
Clinton is considered by many investors to be a safer bet than Trump, who is seen as a loose cannon with policies many fear could wreck the world’s top economy.
New York saw big gains on Monday where the S&P 500 ended a nine-day losing streak to rise 2.2%, its biggest gain since March. The Dow and Nasdaq each finished more than 2% higher.
The Mexican peso was also enjoying continued buying interest, recovering the losses suffered last week. The unit is considered a reflection of Trump’s chances because of his anti-Mexican rhetoric — including his pledge to remove undocumented immigrants, build a border wall and tear up a trade deal.
Key figures at 1145 GMT
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1% at 6,815
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.2% at 10,440
Paris – CAC 40: FLAT at 4,460.40
EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,009.30
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: FLAT at 17,171.38 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.5% at 22,909.47 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.5% at 3,147.89 (close)
New York – Dow: UP 2.2% at 18,259.60 (close)
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2412 from $1.2397 Monday
Dollar/Mexican peso: DOWN at 18.6100 pesos from 18.6463 pesos
Euro/pound: DOWN at 88.99 pence from 89.05 pence
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1046 from $1.1040
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 104.51 yen from 104.53 yen
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP nine cents at $44.98 per barrel
Oil – Brent North Sea: UP 12 cents at $46.27