(Reuters) – U.S. stock market futures dipped on Tuesday as early voting projections in the U.S. presidential election pointed to a close result, creating uncertainty for markets.
Investors had hoped to avoid a prolonged process that would delay any stimulus to help an economy reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1 were down 0.1% during a volatile session, having earlier been up 1%.
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Signs that President Donald Trump could win Florida dampened expectations of a quick outcome and saw 10-year Treasury yields drop to 0.85% US10YT=RR from a five-month top of 0.93%.
The U.S. dollar likewise reversed early losses and gained 0.45% on a basket of currencies to 93.56 =USD.
THOMAS HAYES, CHAIRMAN, GREAT HILL CAPITAL, NEW YORK
“I think the market came with a strong expectation of a blue wave and now they have to look at a status quo situation. If Trump wins, the corporate rate will remain the same, which is the biggest issue for the stock market where it might lose up to $20 of S&P earnings if tax rates go up.
“The best case is going to be a gridlock, either for a Biden or Trump presidency. I think the market is repricing its assumptions. If you don’t have a blue wave, you gonna have a smaller stimulus.”
SIMON WESTON, SENIOR PORTFOLIO MANAGER ASIAN EQUITY, AXA INVESTMENT MANAGERS, HONG KONG
“Markets went into the election count looking like they were expecting a ‘blue wave’ or at least a conclusive win for Biden.
“However, counting so far suggests that the results will be much closer than this, with the key state of Florida looking like it will go for Trump. This raises the prospect that we might get a contested election, or at least one where we will not get a result for some time as votes take time to be counted.
“This higher uncertainty has seen a lot of these early trades reverse – with the dollar appreciating and markets selling off from opening highs … this caution will likely continue until and unless we get a clearer indication of the outcome.”
JAKE DOLLARHIDE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, LONGBOW ASSET MANAGEMENT, TULSA, OKLAHOMA
“The blue sweep argument is about immediate stimulus, like a sugar high. Trump doing better than investors thought is ultimate chaos. If you expect a blue sweep and all of a sudden Trump looks competitive and looks like he could win, then you throw caution to the wind. If Republicans start winning Senate seats again and you have gridlock, the market could go down. But longer term, you could lead to lower taxes and higher stock prices as the recovery trade continues.
“S&P futures favor a sugar high, a blue sweep is great. The market is thinking shorter-term. The market favors certainty, and Trump appearing to do better than investors thought is uncertainty.”
DAVID TAWIL, PRESIDENT, MAGLAN CAPITAL, NEW YORK
“I think even within 24-48 hours of the results, we still won’t know the long-term effects on the markets. Simply as a repetition of history, certainly nobody was able to predict what happened in the wake of the Trump surprise win in 2016 and the whiplash of the markets overnight that went into the next day. I don’t think we are going to be surprised in any other way other than a repetition of that, which is chaotic.
“I’m frightened (of contested). That’s my biggest fear, that come inauguration day we don’t have a president. The one thing that all investors pray for is that in a short period of time there is an undisputed winner because anything other would be catastrophic. It may not be catastrophic long term but the intermittent days will be some of the most frightening we have seen. Really unknown uncharted territory and fear will rage.”
JAMES LEUNG, HEAD OF MULTI-ASSET ASIA PACIFIC, BARINGS, HONG KONG
“Should the election result become highly contentious, leading to notable market weaknesses, we are buyers rather than sellers.
“Asia has also been our preferred region before the election and the outcome of such should not materially alter the region’s economic recovery. We remain constructive on the region on a medium-term outlook … should the elected U.S. president take a more collaborative approach to trade with the country’s trading partners, Chinese equities should be well supported.”
KEITH LERNER, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, TRUIST/SUNTRUST ADVISORY, ATLANTA
“The main thing for the market right now is it was hoping to get clarity and for this to be that we went to bed and it would be a known event. Right now the early indications is this is closer than expected, and we may not have clarity by the end of tonight.”
“That’s why you’ve seen a reversal. The point to get clarity may be dragged out longer than the market was hoping for.”
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