Markets volatile as US election outcome uncertain

European stock markets are volatile as uncertainty continues over the outcome of the US election.

Indexes in London, Paris and Frankfurt opened sharply lower after incumbent President Donald Trump vowed to launch a Supreme Court challenge.

However, they had recovered by mid-morning, trading higher on the day before zigzagging again.

All three were in positive territory by lunchtime, with the dollar up against the pound but down against the euro.

On Tuesday, the three major US indexes closed higher, with the Dow up more than 2%.

The wider S&P 500 rose 1.7%, while the Nasdaq climbed almost 1.9%.

Asian markets mostly closed higher on Wednesday, but that came before Mr Trump’s intervention.

Hence the early drops in stocks in Europe – and a fall in bond yields, the interest rate the US government pays to borrow (as the smaller the stimulus package, the less debt it is likely to take on).

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But after that, calm descended. Like the rest of us, the markets can only watch, wait, and attend to life elsewhere. But lurking in the background is that result that will impact investors and livelihoods far beyond America.

With millions of votes still to be counted, Mr Trump and his Democrat challenger, Joe Biden, are neck and neck in key swing states

US Presidential Election

Early predictions of a possible landslide win for Mr Biden failed to materialise as the contest proved tighter than many had expected.

“The final outcome of the US presidential election and control of the Senate remain in the balance, but the widely-anticipated ‘Blue Wave’ appears to have floundered, with betting markets now making Donald Trump the favourite to win a second term,” said Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics.

“Hopes of large-scale [economic] stimulus under a blue wave now appear to be off the table.”

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