Vote early, vote often

A done deal?

There was much excitement early on Monday that US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would not face federal charges for using hotmail. Equities rallied, gold fell and risky currencies went higher as investors moved out of the safe-havens. And then it all ran out of steam.

The market's fear of a Trump administration has subsided almost to the point of being nonexistent. Most opinion polls give Clinton a three-point lead and, with the vagaries of the US electoral system, that is supposedly enough to give her the required number of electoral college votes to carry the day. 

To those who say "ah, but remember the polls ahead of the EU referendum" psephologists point out that US surveys provide a more reliable guide because, among other things, they spend more money on them. So investors came into election day feeling confident that the new president would be a lot like the previous one. And the one before that. Hence, overnight price movements have been relatively modest. 

Some numbers

There were some numbers for investors to ponder on Monday, just not many and of no great importance. Anyway, with all the furore about Hillary's emails investors did not particularly care.

Germany reported a -0.6% monthly fall in factory orders while, for Euroland as a whole, retail sales were down by -0.2% and investor confidence improved by four and a half points to 13.1. Swiss inflation was steady at -0.2% and the Swiss National Bank's foreign currency reserves increased from SFr628bn to SFr630bn: they go up every month as a result of the SNB's interventions to sell the franc.

The only UK ecostat yesterday was the Halifax house price index. It was up by a monthly 1.4% in October to stand 5.2% higher on the year. Overnight the British Retail Consortium said sales were 1.7% more in September than in the same month last year. 

Angels on the head of a pin

There are some numbers on today's timetable too, a couple of them quite important. But they will probably not be too much of a distraction to investors looking ahead to tomorrow's US election result and saying to one another "yes, but what if?.."

UK manufacturing and industrial output figures this morning will be significant for the pound as, to a lesser extent, will be the NIESR's estimate this afternoon of growth in the three months to October. Canadian housing starts and building permits also come out after lunch and Chinese inflation appears tonight.

After more than a year of acrimony and accusations few investors will be sorry to see the end of the US presidential campaign. Barring mishaps there will be a new president in waiting by tomorrow. A less binary selection will also be taking place in Congress, where all 435 representatives will be returned or replaced along with a third of the Senate. Both houses are currently under Republican control. That could change tonight: a Democratic Senate is possible.