World shares swung higher and the Mexican peso surged more than two percent on Tuesday, as investors awarded the first U.S. presidential debate to Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump.
Markets have tended to see Clinton as the candidate of the status quo, while few are sure what a Trump presidency might mean for U.S. foreign policy, international trade deals or the domestic economy.
Snap polls after the debate suggested Clinton had bolstered her chances. She accused Republican Trump of racism, sexism and tax avoidance while the real estate tycoon, making his first run for public office, said Clinton’s long years of service represented “bad experience”.
For markets the clear winner was the Mexican peso. It surged 2.3% having hit an all-time trough in recent days on concerns that a Trump presidency would threaten Mexico’s exports to the United States, its single biggest market.
EMini futures for the S&P 500 recovered to gain 0.6%, in unusually energetic Asian hours, though European shares saw a 0.5% early bounce wiped out as worries about banks such as Deutsche Bank returned.
“Markets started to call the debate for Hillary within the first 15 minutes or so, with the Mexican peso surging in what is probably its busiest Asian session in years,” said Sean Callow, a senior currency analyst at Westpac in Sydney.
Europe was also digesting news that a referendum over Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s flagship constitutional reform will be held on Dec. 4, with the fate of his administration likely to hinge on the outcome.
It was one of the latest dates he could have picked and Italian bond yields fell to a 2-1/2-week low as investors took a crumb of comfort that it will give him maximum time to try and turn around what now looks like a defeat.
“It is being kicked down the road quite a bit this can,” said Rabobank’s head of macro strategy research Elwin de Groot.
“He is trying to buy time but that could also be a risk. He is banking that he will win back a bit of public support but there is the possibility that he might not.”
There was mixed news, meanwhile, for the European Central Bank as data showed loans to euro zone businesses dipped slightly in August despite its massive stimulus programme.
The euro fell for the first time in five days, slipping to $1.1237 and to 1.1538 per pound.
Oil markets were also in flux as the world’s largest producers gathered in Algeria to discuss ways to tackle a crude glut that has battered prices for two years now.
A source from Iran, where production is on the comebank after years of international sanctions, told Reuters it wanted 12.7% of any new OPEC output ceiling to help it reclaim its market share. Saudi Arabia has suggested it would need Iran to freeze its production for it to do the same.
Brent crude futures slipped 75 cents to $46.61 a barrel having jumped or 3.2% in the previous session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude which has seen a similar rise fell 60 cents to $45.80 a barrel.
In Asia, as early risk aversion faded, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan recouped early losses to rise 0.6%.
Japan’s Nikkei swung 0.8% higher, having been down 1.5% at one stage. The U.S. dollar rebounded to 100.83 yen from a one-month low around 100.08 though it was the peso that was making all the running.
“There’s a thing called ‘Trump thermometer’,” said David Bloom, London-based global head of forex strategy at HSBC. “If you want to know who won the presidential debate, don’t go to Twitter or Facebook (FB). Just look at the dollar/Mexico peso.”
Much the same goes for the Canadian dollar, which touched its lowest since March in early trade before rallying to $1.3171 on its U.S. counterpart.
Other safe-havens ebbed, with yields on U.S. 10-year Treasuries rising a basis point to 1.60%.
Online betting companies shortened the odds on a Clinton win in the wake of the debate, leaving her as the clear favorite among punters.
A CNN poll of viewers, which the broadcaster noted was likely skewed somewhat to Democrats, showed 62% thought Clinton won the debate with 27% for Trump.