Asian shares, US futures surge on relief US election decided

A woman stands in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Monday (Nov 9, 2020). Asian shares rose Monday on relief the US presidential election results were finally decided, with Joe Biden the president-elect. - AP

TOKYO, Nov 9 (AP): Asian shares and US futures rose on Monday on relief the U. presidential election results were finally decided, with Joe Biden the president-elect.

Strong Chinese trade data released over the weekend also helped. Many in the region expect trade tensions to de-escalate under a Biden presidency, a plus for Asian markets and economies.

Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 1.9% to 24,794.44. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 1.6% to 6,291.10. South Korea's Kospi added 1.1% to 2,444.13. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.3% to 26,037.96, while the Shanghai Composite gained 1.2% to 3,350.34.

As votes gradually were counted in the closely watched U.S. presidential election, Biden crossed the winning threshold of 270 Electoral College votes with a win in Pennsylvania.

However, President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede and threats of legal action remain a cause for uncertainty

"Asia markets can be seen cheering the elimination of some of the uncertainties with the US presidential election outcome wait put to an end," said Jingyi Pan, senior market strategist at IG in Singapore.

If Congress is split between a Democratic controlled House and a Republican-controlled Senate, it might be difficult for Biden to raise taxes. That remains to be seen, with two run-off votes in the state of Georgia remaining. Currently, the two parties each hold 48 seats in the 100-seat Senate.

A divided legislature also is expected to temper any pushback against deregulation, prolonging Trump's relatively business-friendly policies.

Customs data released Saturday showed China’s export growth accelerated in October, boosting the total so far this year back above pre-coronavirus levels for the first time. Exports in October rose 11.4% over a year earlier to $237.2 billion, up from September’s 9.9% gain, while imports rose 4.7% by value to $178.7 billion, decelerating from the previous month’s 13.2% surge.

Wall Street finished last week on a mixed note although the election results were still undecided. The S&P 500 inched lower 0.1% to 3,509.44, leaving its blockbuster gain for the week at 7.3%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2%, to 28,323.40. The Nasdaq composite edged less than 0.1% higher, to 11,895.23.

Analysts are cautioning that more volatility may lie ahead.

Biden has vowed to move decisively to try to counter the worsening coronavirus pandemic, that has sapped economic growth, trade and travel, as the U.S. and Europe face a troubling rise in infections. Even if the strictest lockdowns don’t return in the United States, the worsening pandemic may dampen consumption and erase profits.

In energy trading, U.S. benchmark crude gained $1.01 to $38.15 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell $1.65 on Friday to $37.14 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose $1.03 to $40.48 a barrel.

The dollar inched down to 103.33 Japanese yen from 103.35 yen late Friday. The euro cost $1.1892, up from $1.1875. - AP
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