Countdown to US Elections: Trump and Clinton Battle for America

November 8, 2016


With tens of millions of votes already cast, the 2016 US presidential election is finally upon us. In the coming hours, the market will find out whether Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will become the first female president of the United States, or whether GOP candidate Donald Trump’s anti-establishment rhetoric leads him to the White House.

Clinton’s lead in the polls has narrowed significantly over the past week after the FBI told Congress it will relaunch an investigation into the former secretary of state’s use of a private email server for official communications. Over the weekend, Trump opened up a five-point lead in the LA Times/USC Tracking poll. He also held a narrow lead in the IBD/TIPP Tracking poll. Meanwhile, Clinton moved ahead by four points in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey.[1]

As of Sunday, the odds were still firmly in Clinton’s favour, as the Democratic nominee continued to poll well in key battleground states like Florida. The Hispanic vote has also come out in favour of Clinton, as was expected following Trump’s call to build a wall along the Mexican-US border and campaign pledge to deport illegal immigrants.[2]

The presidential battle will be acutely felt in the financial markets. US stocks plunged last week, with the S&P 500 Index recording its first nine-day losing streak since 1980.[3]  Volatility also surged, reaching its highest level since the Brexit crisis. Meanwhile, precious metals rose sharply and the dollar fell.

A Clinton election victory on November 8 is expected to bring a semblance of calm back to the financial markets, leading to a sharp rebound in the S&P 500. Global markets will likely respond in kind after a challenging first week of November.

Clinton is clearly the candidate of choice for investors, who are concerned about what a Trump presidency might entail. Analysts, economists and major financial intuitions have warned of grave consequences of a Trump victory, with the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warning of a possible global recession.[4]

According to analysts, the 2016 election will be decided by several battleground states, including Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada and Arizona. Early election results show that Clinton may have pulled ahead in Nevada, but North Carolina remains a toss-up. According to CNN – the “Clinton News Network,” according to Donald Trump – the Democratic nominee has enough “safe” votes to surpass the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to secure the White House.[5]

[1] Real Clear Politics. Election 2016 Presidential Polls.

[2] Anthony Bond, Steve Robson, Mikey Smith and Jack Blanchard (November 6, 2016). “US Election live: Latest updates as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump fight for the White House.”

[3] Corrie Driebusch and Riva Gold (November 4, 2016). “S&P 500 Falls for Ninth Session in Longest Losing Streak Since 1980.” The Wall Street Journal.

[4] Szu Ping Chan (November 6, 2016). “US election 2016: this is the global market turmoil that would be triggered by a Donald Trump victory.” The Telegraph.

[5] Aaron Hutchins (November 4, 2016). “Election Daily: What the early vote tells us.” MacLean’s.

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