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James Hyerczyk
Asia-Pacific Shares

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes move sharply higher on Thursday as investors continued to wait for the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, while leaning toward a victory for Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Investors remain locked in on the U.S. election, though the final results may not be known for days as several states may need until Friday or early next week to announce the final official tallies. Meanwhile, President Trump is already causing a stir, citing fraud and other allegations that could lead to a recount in several key states, indicating that the matter may end up in the courts before it’s all over.

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In the cash market on Thursday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 24105.28, up 410.05 or 1.73%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed at 25695.92, up 809.78 or 3.25% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2413.79, up 56.47 or +2.40%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3320.13, up 42.69 or +1.30% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6139.60, up 77.50 or 1.28%.

Hang Seng Notches 16-Week Closing High as Biden Odds Improve

Hong Kong’s Hang Index soared to its highest close in more than three months on Thursday and China A-shares gained as U.S. election results showed a firming lead for Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the U.S. presidential election.

With financial markets braced for days or even weeks of uncertainty as Trump has opened a multi-prong attack on vote counts in several states by pursuing lawsuits and a recount, investors have welcomed any indication of a clear winner.

However, the price action suggests that all investors care about is the declaration of a clear winner.

Hong Kong shares also received a lift after regulators abruptly suspended what was set to be the world’s largest stock market debut of Ant Financial Group. This news is providing additional liquidity from locked up money that has made its way into other technology stocks.

The Hang Seng Tech Index booked a 5.45% gain on the day as investors made use of cash freed up by the aborted IPO attempt earlier in the week.

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South Korea Shares Log Biggest Daily Jump Since June

South Korean shares marked their best session in nearly five months on Thursday, led by new energy and technology shares, after Wall Street gained on the prospect of a gridlock in U.S. Congress, which could make big policy changes hard to enact.

In other news, South Korea’s vice finance minister voiced concerns about rapid gains in the won and said the government is ready to deploy market stabilizing measures if volatility widens further.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

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