The stock market has shown itself more comfortable with the Democrat taking over the White House as Trump is considered less predictable as his policy positions have not been consistent during the race.
(Bloomberg) — U.S. stock futures fell as investors assessed media projections that showed a handful of key states leaning toward Republican Donald Trump, a surprise outcome that has the potential to roil global financial markets.
December contracts on the S&P 500 Index lost 2 percent to 2,093.75 at 9:20 p.m. in New York, wiping out gains that reached 0.8 percent. Key battlegrounds of Virginia and North Carolina are among other states where polls have closed and results have been too close to call, but show Trump in close battles with Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“With its performance on Monday, the market made it clear it wants to see Hillary win the race, and any indication throughout the night that it’s going the other way is going to put pressure on the market,” said Walter Todd, who oversees about $1.1 billion as chief investment officer for Greenwood Capital Associates LLC in South Carolina. “That’s what we’re seeing right now. There are a lot of variables still out there, and it’s going to be volatile over the next several hours as the results continue to come in.”
At their level now, S&P 500 futures have erased virtually all of the rally that began Sunday night on word the FBI had resolved its investigation of Clinton’s e-mails. The benchmark gained 2.6 percent on Monday and Tuesday, it’s third biggest gain ever in the two days before a presidential election.
The stock market has shown itself more comfortable with the Democrat taking over the White House as Trump is considered less predictable as his policy positions have not been consistent during the race. Traders are especially on edge after the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union was largely not predicted by polls and betting markets.
Declines in futures that night triggered the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s limit down price curbs. The rules come into effect when S&P 500 contracts decline 5 percent from a reference price that is calculated in the last 30 seconds of trading on the previous day.
E-mini futures on the benchmark gauge settled Tuesday at 2,135.12, implying a trigger at around 2,029. The curb means the contract cannot trade at a lower price for the remainder of the overnight session.
“Everything thing we’ve been reading suggested you’d see a Clinton win and that Republicans take take control of the House. Every incremental vote that makes that outcome more difficult, that’s a vote towards a lower market,” said Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners, which oversees $900 million. “As the race looks more competitive, that’s going to weigh on equity prices as we head into tomorrow.”
The S&P 500 Index advanced 0.4 percent Tuesday to cap its biggest two-day rally since June. The index sits at the highest in two weeks after rebounding from a nine-day rout that was the longest slump in 36 years.
Investors are also closely watching almost a dozen Senate races, which could decide which party has the power to set the chamber’s agenda. Republicans scored a key victory, with Marco Rubio of Florida winning re-election as expected. But Democrats gained a seat in Illinois as Representative Tammy Duckworth defeated incumbent Mark Kirk, according to media projections. Republican Rob Portman of Ohio cruised to re-election in a race that was once expected to be close. The House of Representatives remained under Republican control.
Final voter polls taken before voting began Tuesday showed Democrat Hillary Clinton with a narrow lead over Republican Donald Trump. The two have spent the past days campaigning in key states as polls showed the race had tightened. State-by-state surveys indicate a narrow lead for the Democratic candidate, while websites that take bets on the presidential victor show her odds of winning the White House are generally about 80 percent.
VIX contracts show investors are expecting a post-election, single-day move of 2.2 percent for the S&P 500, according to Pravit Chintawongvanich, head derivatives strategist at Macro Risk Advisors in New York. The anticipated move is wider than the roughly 1.5 percent historical average dating back to 1968.
Bond speculators predict that a Clinton victory would clear the way for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at its next meeting in December, while a Trump win could roil markets and make it more difficult for the central bank to tighten.
The market-implied chance of a December move climbed to 86 percent, based on U.S. overnight indexed swaps that trade 24 hours a day. The OIS-derived probability tends to be a few percentage points lower compared to calculations based on fed funds futures, which stop trading around 5 p.m. New York time.
Regardless of how equity prices react on Nov. 9, next-day moves in the S&P 500 are useless in telling what comes after, as gains or losses over the first 24 hours predict the market’s direction 12 months later less than half the time.
In the 22 elections going back to 1928, the S&P 500 has fallen 15 times the day after polls close, for an average loss of 1.8 percent. Stocks reversed course and moved higher over the next 12 months in nine of those instances, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.