Global markets were thrown into disarray as early results from the U.S. election indicated that Donald Trump is likely to prevail over Hillary Clinton in the race for the presidency, shocking traders who had focused on polls in recent days showing the opposite.
Among key moves in financial markets:* S&P 500 index futures slide 4.5 percent* FTSE 100 index future drop 3.6 percent* MSCI Asia Pacific index drops as much as 2.9 percent, most since Brexit* Mexican peso tumbles as much as 11 percent, breaching 20 per dollar for first time * Japanese yen climbs 3.3 percent* Dollar slides at least 1 percent versus Swiss franc, euro, pound* Gold jumps 3.4 percent* Crude oil slides 3.2 percent* 10-year U.S. Treasury yield drops 10 basis points to 1.75 percent.
The S&P 500 index futures were nearing the maximum 5 percent loss permitted on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange before trading curbs are triggered. The restrictions last came into force in the wake of the Brexit vote and set a floor price for the contracts through the remainder of the overnight trading session. Trading volumes for the December contracts were about 20 times the average level for this time of day, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
"It's looking increasingly likely that he's got this," said Robert Tipp, chief investment strategist in Newark, New Jersey, for the fixed-income division of Prudential Financial Inc."We're seeing the market scramble, we're seeing fear of trade war seeping into Treasury prices."
Panicked investors rushed to unwind bets they'd piled on amid predictions Clinton would sweep to victory. Futures on the S&P 500 index plunged more than 4 percent and Mexico's peso – which tends to weaken as Trump's prospects improve – sank by the most in two decades. U.S. Treasuries, the yen and gold all soared by the most since Britain's surprise vote to leave the European Union sent shockwaves through markets in late June.
Based on the states that have been called, Trump had 232 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to claim the White House and Clinton had collected 209. A Trump victory, buttressed by electoral gains from Florida to Ohio, had been portrayed by analysts as having the potential to unhinge markets that were banking on a continuation of policies that coincided with the second-longest bull market in S&P 500 history. Brexit was the last major political shock and led to the S&P 500 sliding 5.3 percent in two days.
"With more votes being counted and it looking more and more like Trump will actually get in, the market's having a massive dive," said Karl Goody, a private wealth manager at Shaw and Partners Ltd. in Sydney, which oversees about A$10 billion ($7.6 billion). "This has caught a lot of people off guard. We're all very surprised."
Most polls showed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump going into the vote and websites that took bets on the victor had put the Democrat's odds of winning at 80 percent or more. Trump pledged to clamp down on immigration to the U.S. and renegotiate free-trade agreements with countries including Mexico.
U.S. Treasuries led gains in global sovereign bonds amid concern a Trump win will lead to a period of unpredictability in American policy-making and fueling speculation the Federal Reserve will hold off on raising interest rates. The likelihood that the Fed will hike borrowing costs in December dropped below 50 percent in the swaps market, from 82 percent prior to the start of the vote counts.
"If Trump wins, and – given the uncertainty that brings – if markets are volatile in early December and uncertain about what a Trump administration looks like, the Fed may hold off," said George Goncalves, the head of U.S. rates research in New York at Nomura Holdings Inc.