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Markets pause to await US voters' verdict

With yesterday's big correction winding down and over-extended conditions easing, realigned markets have paused to await the results of today's big US presidential election. US index futures, the FTSE, the DAX, gold and crude oil are all trading within 0.2% of flat.

It has been a long, bitter campaign between two very different viewpoints on how to go forward. Recent polls have Hillary Clinton with a slight lead but within the margin of error and losing momentum to Donald Trump. This feels a lot like the Brexit campaign last spring. It has turned out to be a lot closer ‎than many would have expected and the potential for an upset Trump win is very real. 

Last night I was watching coverage of some of the last campaign events. Hillary Clinton was in Pennsylvania, a state she should have locked up months ago. To get a enough people in the crowd to show on TV, that many people out she needed both Obamas, Springsteen ‎and Bon Jovi to generate interest.  Meanwhile Trump has been on offence, campaigning in what have been rock solid Democratic states like Michigan. It feels like a realignment is coming. Either side could come out on top but the tide has been turning toward Trump lately.

Monday's market action showed the street is still favouring stability over change with many traders speculating on a Clinton win. If she does win, stocks could stage another rally, gold could sell off and the Mexican Peso would likely soar. Stocks may only get so far, however as the US Dollar would also likely rally with a Clinton win setting the stage for a Fed rate hike in December.

If Donald Trump wins, uncertainty over what he may do would likely spark a rally in gold and a plunge in the Mexican Peso. As with Brexit, stocks could fall initially but then bounce later this week as the USD would likely also fall with traders speculating Trump related volatility could take a December rate hike off the table (it would only be a postponement though as Trump has criticized the Fed for keeping rates low).

There is also a small chance of a tie o‎r a contested election that leads to recounts, like the Florida fiasco of 2000 which took weeks and a Supreme Court decision to sort out. That situation would also create uncertainty with markets reacting similar to a Trump win. Because the winner could go back and forth for a while, a contested result could spark more volatility for longer. In November of 2000 for example, the Dow fell over 5% while the election was being contested. 

The markets feel like a coiled spring ready to move significantly with the direction depending on who wins the election. This brings risks but also opportunities. It's not the time to be complacent, it's time to be prepared for whatever happens.

Corporate News

There are no major corporate announcements overnight or this morning. 

Economic News

China trade balance        $49.0B vs street $51.7B vs previous $41.9B
China exports            (7.3%) vs street (6.0%) vs previous (10.0%)
China imports            (1.4%) vs street (1.0%) vs previous (1.9%)

UK same store sales        1.7% vs street 0.6%
UK industrial production        0.3% vs street 0.8%
UK manufacturing production    0.2% vs street (0.1%) 

Germany industrial production    1.2% vs street 2.0%

Upcoming significant economic announcements include:

There are no major announcements scheduled for North America today. The focus is all on the election. 

All day             US Presidential Election

7:45 am EST        FOMC Evans speaking
12:20 pm EST

8:15 am EST        Canada housing starts        street 195K vs previous 220K

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