Oil report

GLOBAL MARKETS-Wall Street headed higher as investors bet on Biden win

* World shares rise as U.S. votes

* Dollar, government bonds drop as risk appetite takes over

* Oil up nearly 3% as recovery continues

* Investors bracing for volatility if outcome contested

* Graphic: 2020 asset performance

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2020

LONDON, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open higher on Tuesday as investors bet on a clear win for Joe Biden in the most polarised U.S. presidential election in recent times.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Biden made a last-minute push for votes in battleground states on Monday. Their campaigns were wary of possible legal disputes that could delay a clear outcome, but a wave of risk appetite swept through markets.

“The markets in the last 48 hours have become a bit more convinced of a Biden victory without the messy risk of weeks of uncertainty and turmoil,” said Derek Halpenny, head of research at MUFG.

Wall Street futures were up before New York trading began, buoyed by gains in Asia and Europe and by hopes that a Biden win would translate into more stimulus programs.

Dow e-minis were up 1.5%, S&P 500 e-minis rose 1.1% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis gained 0.54%.

The tail end of the earnings season and the release of U.S. data on durable goods and factory orders were unlikely to change investors’ mood, analysts said.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 1.6% in a second day of gains, having slumped to a five-month low last week as many of the region’s top economies were forced back into coronavirus lockdowns.

Growth-sensitive cyclical sectors such as oil and gas , mining and banks once again led the rally - all rising 2.4% to 2.8%.

Markets noted an update from Britain and the European Union on their trade talks that indicated there is still no agreement on longstanding sticking points like fishing rights.

“Markets are still expecting a deal, no doubt it will be last minute, to the wire,” Halpenny said.


A shock Trump win, a contested result, or just a divided outcome could all trigger market corrections, analysts said.

“Control of the Senate is crucial for any ‘blue wave’ scenario to materialise, otherwise divided government continues and fiscal stimulus expectations will need to be scaled back,” said Alvin Tan, Asia forex strategist at RBC Capital Markets.

For a story on how global markets have fared over the last four years click

Analysts said that while the mood was more upbeat on Tuesday, it remained febrile as European countries introduced tougher lockdowns to fight a pandemic that was set to hit the economy further.

Australian’s central bank became the latest to take action to shore up the coronavirus-hit economy, trimming interest rates to near zero on Tuesday and ramping up its bond-buying plans.

Investors are also waiting on Federal Reserve and Bank of England meetings this week, which are also expected to bring more support.

“The problem with markets is that they are very binary. One day everything is hunky dory and the next day it’s the depths of despair, and so you have to tread that tightrope between the two that creates volatility,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS had added 1.4% overnight. The gauge is less than 1% shy of a two-and-a-half-year high struck in mid-October and up over 5% this year, driven by a 37% rebound from China’s markets since March.

Currency markets also seemed to be tilting towards a victory for Biden. The dollar was down almost 0.5% against a basket of the world’s other top currencies at 93.610 after hitting a month-high on Monday.

Analysts believe a Biden win would weaken the dollar, because the former vice-president is expected to spend big on stimulus and to take a freer approach to trade, boosting other currencies at the dollar’s expense and potentially pushing up bond yields.

The euro extended gains through the morning to stand 0.56% higher at $1.1735. Russia’s rouble, which has been one of the currencies hit hardest by the prospects of a Biden win, also saw a strong rebound.

Strategists at Blackrock Investment Institute said polls were suggesting a greater likelihood of a Democratic sweep in the election.

“We are starting to incorporate themes we believe would outperform in that event, moving toward a more pro-risk stance overall despite last week’s market pullback,” the strategists said in a report.

South Korea’s main index advanced 1.7% and Hong Kong’s index rose 2.2%. The MSCI China index hit a 23-year high as Chinese factory activity expanded the fastest in a decade.

The safe-haven yen was steady at 104.76 yen per dollar. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

Oil prices were rising after two weeks of weakness, with Brent futures up nearly 3% at $40 a barrel and U.S. WTI up 2.9% at $37.88.

Gold rose 0.23% to $1,899 an ounce. Benchmark U.S. and European bond market yields, which are a proxy for governments’ borrowing costs, were also higher.

Additional reporting by Marc Jones in London; editing by Nick Macfie, Angus MacSwan, Larry King