The dollar, Bitcoin soar as the markets contend with a dreaded, contested election

November 4, 2020, 9:42 AM UTC

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Good morning. If you are looking for clarity about the future, the markets won’t be a great help today. At this hour, back in 2016, the election was more or less a known outcome. We’re far from that kind of certainty right now.

And on cue, U.S. futures have whipsawed up and down as we head into at least several more hours, if not days, of uncertainty over a handful of battleground states that could determine not just the presidency, but control of the Senate.

That investor tension was on display around 3 a.m. EST this morning. It was right around that time when Donald Trump took to the podium and vowed to contest the election results before the Supreme Court, sending Dow and S&P futures crashing lower. And then, minutes later, the AP called Arizona for Biden, pushing S&P futures back into positive territory.

Brace yourself for more such gut-churning moments. Remember: Fortune has you covered on all the latest elections and markets news.

Let’s check in on the action.

Markets update


  • The major Asia indexes are mostly higher with Japan’s Nikkei the best of the bunch, up 1.7% in afternoon trading.
  • Ant Group’s mega IPO is suddenly in doubt after the Shanghai Stock Exchange yesterday suspended Thursday’s stock market debut for the fintech giant. Ant was spun off from Alibaba Group in 2011; shares in Alibaba are down 6.4% on Wednesday. Fortune‘s Robert Hackett explains what went wrong.
  • Shares in SoftBank Group are down 2% after the COO of its $100 billion Vision Fund resigned abruptly on Tuesday.


  • The European bourses sank out of the gates with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 1.3%, before rebounding.
  • Europe’s COVID second wave continues to worsen as France, which entered its second national lockdown last week, registered 854 deaths in the past 24 hours, a 6-month record. The situation is looking bad in Sweden, too.
  • Shares in Bayer were down as much as 1.6% in early trading as its Roundup legal bills continue to swell—to over $2 billion—with settlement talks far from resolved.


  • Every time I glance at the TV, the Dow and S&P futures flip from green to red, and back again. There’s never been any doubt about Big Tech, however. At one point overnight, Nasdaq 100 stock futures rocketed up 3.5%, triggering a circuit-breaker halt to trading.
  • The Dow’s 554.98-point gain yesterday marked its best day since July, with 27 of the 30 stocks in the blue chip exchange gaining.
  • The S&P 500 too added nearly 1.8% yesterday. So far, the benchmark index has risen 45.7% with Trump in office. That’s an impressive annualized return of 10.5% a year, but not quite as good as his predecessor.


  • Gold is down, trading below $1,900/ounce.
  • The election uncertainty has been good news for Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency is up about 3%, trading at one point above $14,000.
  • The dollar is higher as well.
  • Crude has been volatile, with Brent trading above $39/barrel.



Tuesday newsflash: Investors are bullish on democracy

Wednesday newsflash: … and bearish on constitutional crises

Can’t trust the polls… Can’t trust the betting markets

“Investors should not look to betting markets for guidance. Betting is plutocratic rather than democratic. Betting requires passion (as there is a potential personal loss), while a blasé vote counts the same as a passionate vote at the ballot box.” — UBS chief economist Paul Donovan.


Bernhard Warner

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Today's read

The pot vote. There were also a number of important referendum questions put to the American voter this election cycle. For example, four states—Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakotalegalized the recreation use of cannabis.

Prop 22. Californians overwhelmingly gave the green light to gig companies Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash to once again designate drivers as independent contractors, and not as employees. Uber's share price was up more than 12% in pre-market trading following the vote.

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Market candy


Face it, you're going to be glued to various screens all day long trying to stay on top of all the election news. With that in mind, Fortune's Jeff John Roberts has compiled the definitive list of Twitter's most astute political junkies to keep you on top of all the twists and turns.

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