Analysts' view: Investors react to last Trump-Biden election debate

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden debated on Thursday for the last time ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden answers a question and U.S. President Donald Trump listens during the second and final presidential debate at the Curb Event Center at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., October 22, 2020. Morry Gash/Pool via REUTERS

A record 47 million Americans already have cast ballots, eclipsing total early voting from the 2016 election.

Trump trails former vice president Biden in national polls, but the contest is much tighter in some battleground states where the election will likely be decided.

S&P 500 index futures EScv1 were down 0.05%, little changed from levels before the debate started.

For Reuters’ main story on the debate, click on

Here are analysts’ reactions:

QUINCY KROSBY, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST AT PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL IN NEWARK, NEW JERSEY

“The tone of the debate, while certainly calmer and more coherent than their first ‘debate,’ probably doesn’t change the campaign dynamic.

“In terms of the market, Vice President Biden has been adamantly defending his position that he’s not the Trojan Horse ready to insert socialism into the economy. The president has been insisting that Biden’s agenda will lead to a decidedly socialist system.”

JAKE DOLLARHIDE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AT LONGBOW ASSET MANAGEMENT IN TULSA, OKLAHOMA

“Although many felt that leading up to the debate that the market could be indifferent to a Democrat sweep, recent volatility in stocks the past week could prove otherwise. (The market) may be taking a step back to its old playbook on thinking it favors a Republican White House. The markets could open significantly higher tomorrow now that two adults finally showed up on the debate stage this time.”

TIM GHRISKEY, CHIEF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, INVERNESS COUNSEL, NEW YORK

“The financial markets appear comfortable with the prospect of a Biden presidency. Remember that our government is much more than just our president. Our best presidents have been leaders, negotiators, and united our country.

“Overall, the financial markets appear comfortable with both candidates. The markets are more focused on a vaccine and the economic recovery. Both are an inevitability regardless of who sits in the White House.

“Our primary concern is potential stock market volatility if the election causes violence in our streets. Further, a blue wave or a red wave might cause financial market concern and volatility. The markets prefer a degree of gridlock since change happens more thoughtfully and at a measured pace.”

CHRIS WESTON, HEAD OF RESEARCH, PEPPERSTONE, MELBOURNE

“I think this about being presidential. It’s about the demeanour – it’s behaviour over substance…Trump’s come across more measured and he’s probably won a few fans through that.

“Its not necessarily a vol event or a market event as such. It will take a bit of time to see if this changes the betting market at all, which seems to be leading the polls at the moment.

“People are just closing out longs ahead of the election just in case Biden isn’t (elected). We’re coming into that eye of the storm now where it takes a bit of a brave soul to put on new positions ahead of the election. Most of the flow will probably be either really short term or people massaging big exposures.”

MOH SIONG SIM, FX ANALYST, BANK OF SINGAPORE

“I don’t think there’s anything new in it, I think that’s why the market is not moving much. The focus is still on the timing of the fiscal stimulus and how big it is.

“The next focus after this will be the polls and what the polls are saying about whether this debate changes peoples’ mind about who they like.

“The market has been in a range-trading mode, either waiting and worrying or waiting and hoping. It’s just toggling in a very cautious manner and I suspect that will be the case unless we get stimulus before elections.”

VASU MENON, SENIOR INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, OCBC BANK WEALTH MANAGEMENT, SINGAPORE:

“It was a slightly more civilised debate this time around, but Trump failed to make up for lost ground from the first debate. Biden came through better than Trump in this debate and this should help to cement his lead over Trump and may just help him to cross the final line with a win. Biden was more persuasive in the debate on COVID-19 and the stalemate with fiscal stimulus, which are critical issues for the American people and that should benefit him in the polls.”

MASAFUMI YAMAMOTO, CHIEF CURRENCY STRATEGIST, MIZUHO SECURITIES, TOKYO

“Trump’s behaviour is better than the previous debate, which is good for him, but Biden has been able to show his leadership. I don’t think this debate is going to change Trump’s probability of winning. That we can see from the reaction in futures and markets.

“A bigger lead for Biden contributes to risk off trades, but we are not sure what the turnout will be for Republicans and Democrats.

“Perhaps the turnout will be higher for the Democrats, but this debate is not a game changer because so many people have already voted.”

GARY NG, NATIXIS ASIA PACIFIC ECONOMIST, HONG KONG

“The market reaction is rather muted in Asian trading hours but has slightly tilted towards a more conservative sentiment as seen in the strengthened dollar index.

“While the debate has yet to offer any new perspective from both candidates, global investors are likely to be brace for any upcoming risks.

“But the short term impact on Asia should be limited as investors have already priced in the uncertainty of the U.S. election. What will change such a view could be any wild card stemming from an October surprise or an unclear election result leading to further clarification, especially if the situation is dragged into quagmire for a long time.”

MARY NICOLA, PINEBRIDGE INVESTMENTS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SINGAPORE

“If Trump wins, markets will know that it is more of the same and the reaction will be limited. The impact on markets comes from the policies the candidates represent.

“A blue wave would have a very different impact than a Biden win and the Senate remains with the Republicans and Congress with the Democrats. A blue wave may lead to concerns about the impact on the tech sector; while a Biden win and a split Congress may imply another four years of limited policy changes and politicking.”

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