‘Welcome to gridlock’: Stock traders cheer, dollar investors jeer US midterm results

Source: The Motley Fool


Global markets are broadly higher on Wednesday, but reaction to news overnight that the Democratic Party has taken control of the US House of Representatives seems to have had little major impact on sentiment.

The Democrats had been widely expected to flip the house, with the Republican Party retaining control of the Senate, and that is how things appear to have panned out, with the Democrats reaching the 218 seat mark needed for a majority just after 3:00 a.m. ET

“Welcome to gridlock,” Paul Donovan, chief economist at UBS Wealth Management said on Wednesday morning. “Trump may now fall back on policy areas that do not require Congress, like trade.”

Individual race upsets aside, the lack of a broad surprise means that markets have remained fairly sanguine.

“As this outcome was widely anticipated, we see little immediate market impact,” UBS Wealth Management said in a note issued by its chief investment office.

Here’s the markets scoreboard:

– Nasdaq futures up 1.1%, S&P 500 up 0.7%, and the Dow is up 0.6%

– The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 0.6%

– The US dollar index is down 0.6%. The dollar is down 0.6% against the euro and is down 0.35% versus the yen. The Mexican peso is up 1.5% against the US dollar.

– The benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 is up 1.3%. Britain’s FTSE 100 is up 1.1% , and Germany’s DAX is up 1%

– Gold was up 1%, while Brent oil climbed 1.43%.

Overnight in Asia, most major indexes fell, perhaps reflecting worries that the increased strength of the Democrats will lead Republican President Donald Trump to double down on some of his core policies, including his trade war with China. China’s benchmark index, the Shanghai Composite, was 0.6% lower at the close.

Donovan’s view was issued by his colleagues in the chief investment office who note that an “increase in gridlock is likely, making it difficult to pass legislation.”

“Without common ground on areas to cut spending, the budget deficit is likely to remain higher than usual, keeping upward pressure on long-term government bond yields.”

The prospect of gridlock seems to have impacted the US dollar, with the dollar index – which tracks the currency against a basket of its peers – dropping around 0.6%.

“The USD has edged gradually lower against many of its counterparts over the course of this week, with this related to expectations that the Democrats winning some influence could provide some legislative resistance towards Trump further pushing forward pro-America policies,” FXTM’s Jameel Ahmed said in an email.

Markets Insider

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