Asia stocks, Mexico peso bounce as markets score debate for Clinton

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By Wayne Cole | SYDNEY

Asian shares recovered from an early bout of nerves while the Mexican peso surged on Tuesday as investors awarded the first U.S. presidential debate to Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump.

Markets have tended to see Clinton as the candidate of the status quo, while few are sure what a Trump presidency might mean for U.S. foreign policy, international trade deals or the domestic economy.

Opinion polls have shown the two candidates in a very tight race, with the latest Reuters/Ipsos polling showing Clinton ahead by 4 percentage points, with 41 percent of likely voters.

As early risk aversion faded, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS recouped early losses to rise 0.5 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 swung 0.3 percent higher, having been down 1.5 percent at one stage, while the U.S. dollar rebounded to 100.83 yen from a one-month low around 100.08 JPY=.

EMini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1 recovered to gain 0.6 percent, an unusually large move for Asian hours.

“Markets started to call the debate for Hillary within the first 15 minutes or so, with the Mexican peso surging in what is probably its busiest Asian session in years,” said Sean Callow, a senior currency analyst at Westpac in Sydney.

“The bounce in S&P futures, AUD and USD/JPY all show that investors were watching closely and didn’t hesitate to declare Trump the loser.”

The dollar sank 1.9 percent on the peso MXN=D2, lifting the peso from an all-time trough hit in recent days on concerns that a Trump presidency would threaten Mexico’s exports to the United States, its single biggest market.

TRUMPOMETER

“There’s a thing called ‘Trump thermometer’,” said David Bloom, London-based global head of forex strategy at HSBC.

“If you want to know who won the presidential debate, don’t go to Twitter or Facebook. Just look at the dollar/Mexico peso.”

Much the same goes for the Canadian dollar CAD=, which touched its lowest since March in early trade before rallying to $1.3171 on its U.S. counterpart.

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar was a fraction firmer at 96.360 .DXY and the euro was steady at $1.1242 EUR=.

Other safe-havens ebbed, with yields on U.S. 10-year Treasuries US10YT=RR rising a basis point to 1.60 percent.

Online betting companies in Australia shortened the odds on a Clinton win in the wake of the debate, leaving her as the clear favorite among punters.

A CNN poll of viewers, which the broadcaster noted was likely skewed somewhat to Democrats, showed 62 percent thought Clinton won the debate with 27 percent for Trump.

In commodity markets, oil consolidated its gains having bounced 3 percent on Monday as the world’s largest producers gathered in Algeria to discuss ways to tackle a crude glut that has battered prices for two years now. [O/R]

Brent crude LCOc1 was off a slight 12 cents at $47.23 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 dipped 5 cents to $45.88.

(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Kim Coghill)

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