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An investor looks at screens showing stock market movements at a securities company in Beijing on January 8, 2016. (WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
An investor looks at screens showing stock market movements at a securities company in Beijing on January 8, 2016. (WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

Global markets rocked as traders see likelihood of Trump victory Add to ...

Global markets were thrown into disarray as early results from the U.S. election indicated that Donald Trump is likely to prevail over Hillary Clinton in the race for the presidency, shocking traders who had focused on polls in recent days showing the opposite.

Panicked investors rushed to unwind bets they’d piled on amid predictions Clinton would sweep to victory, fueling demand for haven assets. Futures on the S&P 500 Index plunged by a 5 percent limit that triggers trading curbs and Asian shares sank by the most since the aftermath of Britain’s shock vote to leave the European Union. Mexico’s peso had its steepest plunge in two decades on concern a Trump win would lead to more protectionist U.S. trade policies. Gold jumped by the most since 2009, surging with the yen and U.S. Treasuries.

Based on the states that have been called, Trump had 244 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to claim the White House and Clinton had collected 209, while the Republicans were also on track to have control of Congress. A Trump victory, buttressed by electoral gains from Florida to Ohio, had been portrayed by analysts as having the potential to unhinge markets that were banking on a continuation of policies that coincided with the second-longest bull market in S&P 500 history. Brexit was the last major political shock and led to the S&P 500 sliding 5.3 percent in two days.

Read more: How the markets are reacting to Trump’s lead in five key charts

“With more votes being counted and it looking more and more like Trump will actually get in, the market’s having a massive dive,” said Karl Goody, a private wealth manager at Shaw and Partners Ltd. in Sydney, which oversees about A$10 billion ($7.6 billion). “This has caught a lot of people off guard. We’re all very surprised.”

Most polls showed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump going into the vote and websites that took bets on the victor had put the Democrat’s odds of winning at 80 percent or more. Trump pledged to clamp down on immigration to the U.S. and renegotiate free-trade agreements with countries including Mexico.

Among key moves in financial markets:

* S&P 500 Index futures slide as much as 5 percent

*Canadian dollar was down more than a full cent to 74.14 cents (U.S.).

* FTSE 100 Index future drop 4.7 percent

* MSCI Asia Pacific Index drops 2.9 percent

* Mexican peso tumbles 12 percent, breaching 20 per dollar for first time

* Japanese yen climbs 3.9 percent, most since Brexit

* Euro, Swiss franc rise more than 2 percent

* Gold jumps 4.7 percent, most since 2009

* Crude oil slides 3.5 percent

* 10-year U.S. Treasury yield drops 14 basis points to one-month low of 1.72 percent

Stocks

S&P 500 futures went down by the maximum 5 percent loss permitted on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange before trading curbs are triggered, before trimming their drop to 4.9 percent as of 2:19 p.m. Tokyo time. The restrictions last came into force in the wake of the Brexit vote and set a floor price for the contracts through the remainder of the overnight trading session. Trading volumes for the December contracts were about 20 times the average level for this time of day, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Futures on the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index tumbled 4.6 percent, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down more than 2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index plunged by the most in four years, while benchmarks in India and Taiwan were headed for their biggest losses since August 2015. Japan’s Topix index plunged 5 percent.

“If Trump becomes president and both the House and Senate are Republican, he can do whatever he likes,” said Norihiro Fujito, a Tokyo-based senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. “We’re in the midst of a violent unwinding of positions globally as investors deal with an unexpected, risk-off situation.”

Currencies

Mexico’s peso plunged to a record low of 20.7450 per dollar, tumbling the most in eight years to lead declines against the greenback. Other higher-yielding currencies sank, with South Africa’s rand and Australia’s dollar weakening at least 2.1 percent.

“This would be the biggest political upset in living memory,” said Jeremy Cook, chief economist at London-based World First U.K. Ltd. “The significance is almost unquantifiable.”

Currencies viewed as havens climbed, with the yen climbing 3.8 percent to 101.63 per dollar and the Swiss franc gaining 2.3 percent.

Bonds

Treasuries surged as traders saw the likelihood of the Federal Reserve interest-rate increase in December dwindling to less than 50 percent, based on overnight indexed swaps. The yield on the 10-year note declined 13 basis points to 1.73 percent, with its daily trading range -- 0.18 percentage point -- the largest since June 24, the day after the Brexit vote.

“It’s looking increasingly likely that he’s got this,” said Robert Tipp, chief investment strategist in Newark, New Jersey, for the fixed-income division of Prudential Financial Inc. “We’re seeing the market scramble, we’re seeing fear of trade war seeping into Treasury prices.”

Asian bonds also rallied. The yield on Japanese sovereign bonds due in a decade fell one basis point to minus 0.08 percent. South Korea’s 10-year yield fell eight basis points to 1.62 percent, the most since the Brexit aftermath. The yield on similar-maturity notes in India dropped 11 basis points to 6.69 percent and Taiwan’s declined six basis points to 0.96 percent.

“It’s bigger than Brexit especially in terms of its impact on Asia because there’ll be a considerable amount of uncertainty in terms of the trade policies,” said Rajeev De Mello, who oversees about $10 billion in Singapore as head of Asian fixed income at Schroder Investment Management Ltd. “For emerging markets, there’s the increase in protectionism, the risk of tariffs, the risk of branding China a currency manipulator.”

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