REUTERS - Asian shares slipped yesterday and the dollar nursed losses in a week marked by growing uncertainty about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.4 percent after brushing its lowest levels since early August. It looked set for a loss of 1.7 for the week.
Investors have been unnerved in recent days by signs that the presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump may be tightening just days before Tuesday’s vote.
That anxiety has rippled across global financial markets as investors ponder hedging the possible ramifications of a Trump presidency, overshadowing other events including Friday’s U.S. employment report for October.
“This negative sentiment is also spilling over into Europe’s markets as they also slip back as the weaker U.S. dollar pushes up the pound and the euro, as we look again at the potential for another negative open this morning,” wrote Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in London.
CMC expects Britain’s FTSE 100, France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX <.GDAXI to all open down moderately lower.
According to the latest Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project, Clinton, who is seen as the status quo candidate by markets, maintained her narrow lead over Trump.
But several swing states that the Republican challenger must win shifted from favouring Clinton to toss-ups, offering Trump a possible route to victory.
“Even if opinion polls show that Clinton is maintaining a lead, anything can happen at the last minute, something the Brexit outcome taught us,” said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, referring to Britain’s surprising vote in June to leave the European Union.Trump, a political novice, has campaigned to clamp down on immigration, rethink trade relations and slap high tariffs on imported goods. Some fear his election would pose risks for global trade and growth.
On Wall Street on Thursday, U.S. stocks sagged, with the S&P 500’s eighth straight losing session marking its longest streak since the 2008 financial crisis. A slump in Facebook shares and the U.S. election jitters sapped investor confidence.
Japan’s Nikkei stock index slid 1.3 percent, reopening after a public holiday on Thursday and catching up to losses in the previous global session. It was down 3.1 percent for the week, the biggest weekly drop in four months, dragged down by the resurgence of the perennial safe-haven yen.
The dollar clawed back some lost ground against the yen, rising 0.2 percent to 103.19 and pushing away from the previous session’s one-month low of 102.54 yen, though still down 1.5 percent for the week. The euro edged down 0.1 percent to $1.1097, up about 1 percent for the week.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six rival currencies, inched up 0.1 percent to 97.244, down 1.1 percent for the week and not far from a more than three-week low of 97.041 struck overnight.
The nonfarm payrolls report due later yesterday is expected to show employers added 175,000 jobs in October, according to the median estimate of 106 economists polled by Reuters.