The Market’s Best Indicator Isn’t Sure Who Won the Presidential Debate

Oct 20, 2016

If you think there was a clear winner of the third, and final, presidential debate, investors don't seem to agree with you.

The indicator that many market watchers say has become the best predictor of whether Donald Trump will win or lose the presidency is calling the event a toss up, mostly.

The value of the Mexican peso rose slightly on Wednesday night, though the rise was less than a third of what it jumped following the second debate. A number of market commentators have said the currency has become the best gauge of whether investors think Trump can be president. And the gain in the peso indicates that investors think Trump’s chances after Sunday night’s debate just lessened.

Another sign the debate was a toss-up: Asian markets were mixed shortly aftwward, with China's Hang Seng Hong Kong stock market index rising slightly, and its Shanghai index dropping slightly. In the past, world stock market have generally risen as Hillary Clinton's prospects have improved.

Many believe Trump’s policies could be the most damaging for the Mexican economy, which is why the peso has become a bellwether for his candidacy. The value of the peso dropped in the late summer and early fall as Trump’s poll numbers neared Clinton's. But the value of the peso has mostly climbed since the first debate.

On Wednesday night, though, the value of the peso rose vs. the dollar by six cents. That compares to a 31 cent climb in the peso after the first debate.

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