By Willa Plank, James Glynn and Hiroyuki Kachi
Asian share markets were broadly higher Monday, with the dollar surging after the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation stood by its earlier decision not to recommend charges against Demoratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 1.5%, while Korea's Kospi was up 0.8% and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.4%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.6%.
Meanwhile, the dollar rose to Yen104.50 against the yen following the news of the FBI decision, up from Yen103.37 earlier. The gains partially reversed the dollar's weakness against the Japanese currency over the past week, following FBI Director James Comey's earlier letter to Congress saying the bureau had uncovered new evidence it believed was related to the email server.
"With the email issue now put to bed, at least for now, it is clearly favorable for Clinton's chances at the election," said Ray Attrill, global head of currency strategy at National Australia Bank.
Equity markets rallied, in a sign that stock investors believe a victory for Mrs. Clinton over her Republican rival Donald Trump in Tuesday's election is now more likely.
The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 44% of likely voters support Mrs. Clinton, while 40% support Mr. Trump. Mrs. Clinton's 4-point lead is less than half the 11-point edge she enjoyed in a mid-October poll.
A victory for the Democrats Tuesday is expected to be less disruptive for markets and therefore more supportive of an increase in U.S. interest rates in December.
In Japan, financials, electronics and automotive stocks were leading gains. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings was up 2.7%, while Mitsubishi Electric gained 1.9% and Nissan Motor rose 1.8%.
Metals prices were also up on Monday, driving the strength in related shares. In Hong Kong, shares of Chinese aluminum giant Chalco was up 2.0%, while Angang Steel added 2.3%.
Three-month nickel futures on the London Metal Exchange jumped 4.1% to $10,895 per metric ton Monday, leading gains in base metals across the board as risk appetite improved.
"The investment sentiment in metals has improved after the FBI director's statement," said Gnanasekar Thiagarajan, director of Commtrendz Risk Management. He said that concerns about supply snags from the Philippines, the world's largest supplier of nickel, have also impacted the metal.
Investors, though, will likely remain wary due to the U.S. elections this week, after a campaign that has proven to be highly unpredictable.
"We could see a period of high drama before we get the announcement" of a winner or even after that, said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG. "The playbook is so diverse you don't know how to trade this," he said.
In Hong Kong, key property stocks tumbled after the city's government late Friday imposed fresh measures--including an increase in transaction taxes--to cool the city's home property market.
Of the developers, Cheung Kong Property Holdings was down 8.8%, Sun Hung Kai Properties was off 9.9% and New World Development lost 9.6%.
Among other currencies, the British pound also weakened against the dollar Monday, on track to snap a three-day winning streak. Over the weekend, British Prime Minister Theresa May told European leaders she would stick to her timetable for leaving the European Union, despite a court ruling last week that Parliament must approve Mrs. May's plans to trigger an exit from the EU.Looking ahead, economic data for China scheduled to be released this week, including trade figures, will be closely watched by the Asian market, say traders.
Yifan Xie, Hiroyuki Kachi, Kosaku Narioka, Biman Mukherji and Gregor Stuart Hunter contributed to this article.
Write to Willa Plank at email@example.com and James Glynn at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 07, 2016 02:07 ET (07:07 GMT)
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