By Nichola Saminather | SINGAPORE
Most Asian stock markets rose on Tuesday ahead of the U.S. presidential election, with investors optimistic but cautious over improving prospects for a win by Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The Mexican peso, which strengthens as the perceived chances of an election victory by Republican Donald Trump fall, retained its strong gains from Monday.
The dollar, which also advanced on Monday, edged slightly lower.
Boosting Clinton’s chances of winning, and markets globally, was a statement by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation on Sunday standing by its July finding that Clinton was not guilty of criminal wrongdoing in her use of a private email server.
That came after the FBI announced on Oct. 28 it was reviewing additional emails relating to the server while Clinton was secretary of state, sending markets around the world tumbling.
Clinton is seen by investors as offering greater certainty and stability, and, until last week’s stumble, had been seen as the likely victor in Tuesday’s presidential vote.
While polls last week showed Trump closing in on Clinton’s lead, at least five major polls on Monday showed Clinton still ahead.
But investors remained wary, noting Britain’s shock vote in June to leave the European Union had defied most polls and bookmakers’ odds.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.3 percent.
But Japan’s Nikkei surrendered earlier gains to trade 0.2 percent lower, weighed down by the yen’s rise following Monday’s losses.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ticked up 0.3 percent.
China’s CSI 300 index index added 0.5 percent, with a weaker yuan outweighing bigger-than-expected declines in both imports and exports and a smaller-than-forecast trade balance in October.
The MSCI World index was little changed, maintaining its 1.6 percent gain seen on Monday, its biggest single-day jump in almost 19 weeks.
“As markets head into the U.S. election, a final recalibration of risk is in train,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, wrote in a note.
“Asia-Pacific markets were the first to adjust to the political shift, and may trade more modestly today after roaring back to life yesterday.”
Overnight, Wall Street shares soared between 2.1 and 2.4 percent, recording their biggest one-day percentage gain since March 1, with the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average recovering all their losses from the previous week.
The dollar, which recorded its biggest one-day increase against the yen in almost four months on Monday, surrendered 0.1 percent to trade at 104.33 yen on Tuesday.
The U.S. currency was little changed versus the Mexican peso at 18.58, after sliding 2.3 percent on Monday, its biggest one-day drop in six weeks.
The Mexican currency is seen as a proxy for bets on the U.S. election because Mexico is considered most vulnerable to Trump’s trade policies as 80 percent of its exports go to the United States.
The euro which retreated 0.9 percent on Monday, was little changed at $1.10385.
Crude oil futures were mixed as concerns about the stronger dollar and doubts over OPEC’s planned production cuts ate into the broad revival in risk appetite.
U.S. crude slipped 0.1 percent to $44.86 a barrel, after advancing 1.9 percent on Monday. Global benchmark Brent rose 0.15 percent to $46.22, extending Monday’s 1.3 percent jump.
As some caution returned after Monday’s exuberance, gold climbed 0.1 percent to $1,281.12 an ounce, erasing some of its 1.7 percent loss from the previous session.
(Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Editing by Eric Meijer and Kim Coghill)