BEIJING — Major Asian stock markets were lower Wednesday after investors were reassured by trade-friendly Hillary Clinton’s performance in a U.S. presidential debate with rival Donald Trump.
KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index fell 1.5 percent to 16,426.61 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.6 percent to 23,440.18. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 percent to 2,990.97 and benchmarks in Singapore and Indonesia also declined. Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 gained 0.4 percent to 5,497.40 and Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.9 percent to 2,017.94. Bangkok, Manila and New Zealand also gained.
THE TRUMP EFFECT: Investors sold gold and other assets they had bought as hedges against a possible victory by the Republican Trump, who has called for controls on trade and immigration. Markets also have been unnerved by Trump’s tax and economic plans. They were reassured by what some commentators saw as his poor showing in a nationally televised debate with the Democrat Clinton, who is seen as more favorable to trade and continuity in U.S. economic policy.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “The strong performance by Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump in the first presidential debate had a major impact on markets as some of the Trump-related hedges saw a pullback,” said Angus Nicholson of IG Markets in a report. “A number of safe haven assets had been bid up during the Trump poll surge as investors worried about what Trump would mean for the global economy, and particularly the global security risks he poses. Gold saw its biggest one-day decline in more than a month losing 0.8 percent as Trump’s probability of becoming president was seemingly diminished after his poor showing in the debate.”
WALL STREET: U.S. stocks rebounded after a Conference Board survey showed consumer confidence is at a nine-year high, a sign Americans will keep spending in the months to come. Technology and consumer stocks made the largest gains. Technology companies jumped, and solid results from cruise line operator Carnival sent travel-related companies higher. Energy companies slumped with oil prices as hopes for an international cut in fuel production faded. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 133.47 points, or 0.7 percent, to 18,228.30. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 13.83 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,159.93. The Nasdaq composite gained 48.22 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,305.71.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 6 cents to $44.61 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $1.26 on Tuesday to close at $44.67. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 10 cents to $46.62 in London. The contract dropped $1.41 the previous session to close at $46.52.
CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 100.56 yen from Tuesday’s 100.29 yen. The euro was unchanged at $1.12.