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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, October 16, 2018

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Donald Trump’s shock victory rattles world markets, as shares, dollar tumble

Markets reacted violently to the change in expectations.

Share on Facebook November 9, 2016, Reporter : Big News Network, Reader : 708

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WASHINGTON, U.S. - Donald Trump's shock victory sent financial markets across the world tumbling. > Big News Network

Prior to Election Day, investors had bet heavily on a Hillary Clinton victory in line with most opinion polls; today, however, markets reacted violently to the change in expectations.

Across the board, it turned ugly for equities, currencies and Treasuries. 

The CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of investor fear, showed a 30 percent spike.

Dow futures and Asian stock prices opened sharply lower as investors panicked over uncertainties on trade, immigration and geopolitical tensions.

At one point, Dow futures plunged more than four percent and Japan's major index nosedived more than 6.1 percent, its largest drop in years. 

The Mexican peso likewise tumbled and investors looked for safe assets bid up the price of gold. 

The peso is being closely watched by market observers since Trump directed much of his ire at Mexico. 

Trump has threatened to build a wall to separate the U.S. from Mexico and tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Asian markets saw losses narrow towards the end of Wednesday trading. 

Japan's Nikkei 225 closed down by 5.4 percent, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong finished 2.2 percent lower and the Shanghai Composite lost 0.6 percent.

Sydney gave up almost two percent, Seoul shed 2.3 percent and Singapore dived 1.8 percent. 

Wellington plunged 3.3 percent while Taipei was 3.0 percent off. 

Manila skidded 2.5 percent and Jakarta two percent.

U.K. stocks followed falls in Asian and European markets. 

Other major European stock markets were also lower, and money flowing into safe haven stocks, gold and currencies including the yen. 

German government bonds also rallied. 

France's Cac index and Germany's Dax were each down about one percent after heavier falls at the start of trading.

The election uncertainty also jolted currency markets, sending investors fleeing from the dollar. 

By late Wednesday Tokyo time, the dollar was at 103.36 yen, down 1.5 percent from 105.46 earlier in the day. 

The euro rose to $1.1115 from $1.1020.

The shock of this presidential race is being compared to the Brexit referendum when Britain stunned the world after voting to leave the European Union.

U.S. stock futures fell sharply overnight after Trump's lead became clear, although the Dow Jones index is now expected to lose two percent - about 400 points when it reopens - compared to earlier predictions of a four percent fall.

The president-elect's lack of clear policy details has left many worldwide uneasy over the future direction of the U.S. economy. 

Share prices began tumbling as soon as Trump first gained the lead in the electoral vote count. 

By the time Trump was confirmed to have crossed the magical number of 270 electoral votes and Clinton called to concede, financial markets appeared steadied somewhat, at least for now.

Energy markets were roiled but pared some of their earlier losses. Benchmark U.S. crude futures lost 53 cents to $44.44 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 9 cents to close at $44.98 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid 29 cents to $45.75 a barrel in London.

Meanwhile, the odds of a Federal Reserve rate hike in December – considered an almost sure thing before the election – fell below 50 percent.

Trump's unexpected victory has put into question what American economic policy will be for the next two years, in ways that are particularly unsettling to investors. 

Americans have cast their votes for the president, and now investors will continue to cast their own on whether they think he will able to improve the economy. 

And that may provide valuable clues for investors’ portfolio performance for years to come.

“This is very much a step into the unknown because we simply can’t know what type of President Trump will be,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist with Capital Economics, according to reports. “Will he be the demagogue from the campaign trail who threatened to lock up his political opponents, punish the media, build border walls and start a global trade war? Or is he capable of becoming a statesmanlike figure who leads in a more measured manner?”

That's the question on everyone's minds.

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