Asian markets higher as US election results unfold-A A +A
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
BANGKOK — Asian stock markets were mostly higher Wednesday as early results from U.S. midterm elections showed the expected gains for Republicans and investors looked to the Fed's upcoming announcement on plans to stimulate the world's biggest economy.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 1.7 percent to 24,073.95 while China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1 percent to 3,047.39. Markets in Japan were closed for a public holiday.
Indexes in South Korea, Australia, Singapore and Indonesia were higher while Taiwan and Malaysia fell.
The attention of investors and businesses is mainly on U.S. midterm elections, which are expected to result in a Congress at least partially controlled by Republicans pitted against the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama.
Fights over taxes, deficits, health care and financial regulation could result in paralyzing uncertainty for the world's No. 1 economy though investors seem to have already factored that outcome into stock prices.
Stock market futures in the United States were little changed as election results began streaming in.
In a result widely expected by investors, Republicans gained at least 11 seats in the House of Representatives in early returns and are poised to gain control of that chamber of Congress. Democrat Joe Manchin III?s victory in the close West Virginia Senate race makes it unlikely that Republicans will control both houses of Congress.
The loosely organized Tea Party, a Republican-leaning group that emphasizes libertarian fiscal policy, picked up at least two victories. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mario Rubio in Florida defeated their Democratic challengers in Senate races in each state.
Investors are also looking ahead to the Federal Reserve's expected announcement Wednesday of the details of its plan to stimulate the economy by buying bonds. The plan, known as quantitative easing, makes stocks a more attractive investment by lowering bond yields.
Investors have been anticipating that the central bank's program will tally at least $500 billion. Any number significantly higher or lower than that figure could affect stock prices.
Broad stock market indexes have gained 12 percent since the Fed began hinting in late August that it would undertake the bond buying program by the end of the year. Over the last month, the Dow Jones industrial average is up 3.3 percent, and the broad Standard and Poor?s 500 Index is up 4.1 percent. The Nasdaq composite index has gained 6.8 percent over the same timeframe. It closed at its high for the year on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the Dow rose 64.10, or 0.6 percent, to close at 11,188.72. It reached its closing high of 11,205.03 on April 26. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 9.19, or 0.8 percent, to 1,193.57. The S&P 500, which is more closely watched than the Dow by professional investors, is also still below its 2010 high of 1,217.28, reached on April 23.
Benchmark crude for December delivery was up 35 cents at $84.25 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In currencies, the dollar rose to 80.66 yen from 80.64 yen in New York late Tuesday. The euro fell to $1.4010 from $1.4030. (AP)