Stocks in Asia, Europe surge on Biden election win, yuan extends strongest level since June 2018

Martin Choi
·4-min read

Hong Kong and mainland China stocks surged along with equities in Asia-Pacific markets while the Chinese yuan added to its strongest level since June 2018, after US media declared Democrat candidate Joe Biden the US presidential election winner over the weekend.

The Hang Seng Index rose 1.2 per cent to 26,016.17, its highest level since July 9. The Shanghai Composite Index closed at a two-month high after adding 1.9 per cent. The yuan appreciated 0.6 per cent to 6.5734 per dollar, a level not seen since late June 2018.

Bulls also waded into European stock markets. Major benchmarks surged on a wave of optimism over Biden’s victory and news that drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech were making good progress with their Covid-19 vaccine.

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The FTSE 100 in London vaulted more than 5.6 per cent, while Germany’s DAX jumped 5.6 per cent and France’s CAC 40 climbed more than 7.3 per cent.

Futures on American benchmarks soared, signalling US equity traders will also be cheering the president-elect.

Dow futures were last up 1,272 points, or about 4.5 per cent, while S&P 500 futures climbed 3.5 per cent and Nasdaq futures were up 1.5 per cent.

“The markets welcome Biden becoming the next US president,” said Louis Tse Ming-kwong, managing director of Wealthy Securities. “Sentiment has greatly improved. But the market is very much overbought. We have to be careful as large profits have been accumulated over the past couple of weeks.”

Regional stock markets logged huge gains with the Nikkei 225 ahead at 2.1 per cent. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.3 per cent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.8 per cent. They followed a 6.3 per cent surge in the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index last week, the most in a month, before the US vote was called.

“Emerging market (EM) assets should perform on improved trade sentiment, we believe, especially in Asia ex-Japan,” BlackRock Inc, the world’s biggest money manager, said in a note on Sunday. “Risks to the outcome appear remote, and we prefer to look through any market volatility that legal challenges by President Trump may bring.”

Biden defeated President Donald Trump after the Associated Press, CNN and NBC called the race in his favour, handing him 290 electoral college votes against 214 by the incumbent on Saturday, beyond the 270 threshold. Trump has not conceded, threatening to challenge the outcome in courts.

Biden, the Democrat candidate, is set to become the 46th President on inauguration day on January 20. His victory would encourage China to try and renegotiate Donald Trump’s punitive trade deals, according to Chinese government advisers.

The Hang Seng Tech Index of 30 stocks advanced 3 per cent. Sunny Optical, which produces phone lenses, rose 8.1 per cent, while AAC Technology gained 4.9 per cent. Alibaba, the owner of this newspaper, rose 2.9 per cent to HK$290.20, while Tencent gained 1.3 per cent to HK$622.50.

Chinese chip makers rose. Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) rose 2.5 per cent, while Hua Hong Semiconductor added 2.8 per cent. In China, a gauge tracking the local chip-making industry gained 4.8 per cent, according to Xuangubao.cn. Wuxi Chipown Micro-electronics gained 20 per cent to fire up the Shanghai Composite Index.

US, China and Hong Kong stocks have outperformed under a Democrat president. While the S&P 500 index rose in eight of the past 10 presidential terms, the benchmark’s biggest gains came during the first four years under Bill Clinton (1993-97) and Barack Obama (2009-2012).

Elsewhere, China Evergrande jumped 2.2 per cent in Hong Kong after the developer terminated a reorganisation plan with Shenzhen Real Estate, ending a costly four-year pursuit of one of its biggest rivals in the city. The stock has risen 18.6 per cent over an eight-day winning streak.

Three stocks started trading in Hong Kong and Shanghai after their initial public offerings (IPOs).

New Oriental Education & Technology Group, which provides private educational services in China, gained 14.7 per cent to HK$1,365 from its offer price of HK$1,190 on the first day of its secondary listing in Hong Kong. Chinese biopharmaceutical company RemeGen also gained 34 per cent to HK$69.80 from its IPO price of HK$52.10.

In Shanghai, Dalian Haosen Equipment Manufacturing, which makes factory automation equipment, surged 291.6 per cent to 79.10 yuan from its offer price of 20.20 yuan.

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