Australia, New Zealand shares rebound on optimism over Hillary Clinton in US elections

Financials gave a huge boost to the benchmark index with all the 'Big 4' banks in positive territory.

By: Reuters | Updated: November 7, 2016 1:25 pm

Australia and New Zealand shares bounced back on Monday, as optimism for Hillary Clinton’s win in Tuesday’s US elections revived after the Federal Bureau of Investigations cleared the Democratic candidate in its latest email review. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.85 percent or 43.78 points to 5,224.6 by 1140 GMT. The benchmark rose as much as 1 percent to post its biggest percentage gain in a month.

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The FBI said on Sunday it stood by its earlier recommendation that no criminal charges were warranted against Clinton for using a private email server for government work, lifting a cloud over her presidential campaign before the U.S. election on Tuesday.

“After that announcement on Sunday by the FBI more people are expecting a Clinton victory” said Tony Farnham an economist with Patersons Securities. “She seems to be the market’s favourite”.

News of the renewed review had hurt Clinton’s poll numbers, with Trump cutting into her once formidable lead. The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Clinton with a 5 percentage point lead over the New York businessman in the national survey – 44 percent to 39 percent support.

Investors have generally seen Clinton as the candidate who would maintain the status quo, while there is more market uncertainty over what a Trump presidency might mean in terms of economic policy, free trade and geopolitics.

Financials gave a huge boost to the benchmark index with all the ‘Big 4’ banks in positive territory.

Earnings of Westpac Banking Corp were well received by the market, with financials being one of the best performers, Tony added.

After reporting a flat annual cash profit, shares of Westpac, Australia’s second-biggest bank by market value rose more than 2 percent, their biggest percentage gain in three months. National Australia Bank was up more than 1 percent.

Large-cap miner BHP Billiton moved 2 percent higher while Rio Tinto gained more than 1 percent.

The energy index rose more than 1 percent, posting its biggest percentage rise in over a week. Oil major Santos Ltd jumped 4.3 percent to hit its highest in a week.

Bucking the trend, gold stocks moved into the red on weak prices, with the benchmark dropping as much as 3.9 percent, its biggest percentage loss in a month. Newcrest Mining Ltd drifted 2.7 percent lower.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index jumped 2.04 percent or 137.04 points to 6,845.5 by 0152 GMT, posting its biggest percentage gain in more than a year.

Industrial and telecom stocks gave a major boost to the index, with Spark New Zealand Ltd up 2.8 percent and Auckland International Airport Ltd rising 3.8 percent.