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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence Mike Pence, right, and U.S. Democratic vice presidential nominee and Senator from California, Kamala Harris participate in the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah on Oct. 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Republican Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris sparred on Wednesday in a pivotal debate ahead of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election.

S&P 500 index futures rose 0.3% as the debate ended, building on earlier gains of 0.16%.

Public opinion polls and betting markets have shown support rising for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden after U.S. President Donald Trump said last week he contracted the coronavirus.

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KIRA TAKEI, GLOBAL FIXED INCOME FUND MANAGER, ASSET MANAGEMENT ONE, TOKYO:

"Pence delivered his messaging better than Trump, but I want to see how Trump performs in the next debate. It may appear that Biden has the lead, but I don’t trust the opinion polls.

"The race is neck and neck. Trump will dispute the results and we won’t know right away. It could take one or two months.

"Policy will be put on hold. The U.S. economy will fall off a fiscal cliff due to a lack of support. Companies won’t be able to maintain employment.

“Equities will become very fragile. A divided U.S. government would worsen the policy outlook. People are on the sidelines now, but Treasury yields will eventually come down.”

AYAKO SERA, MARKET STRATEGIST, SUMITOMO MITSUI TRUST BANK, TOKYO:

"Neither side landed a killer blow. Harris could have done more to criticize Trump’s handling of the coronavirus. For Pence, it was easy for him to criticize the economic polices that Democrats favor.

"If Trump really does recover from the coronavirus and is able to participate in the second presidential debate, his support could rise and the race could get close.

"For now, Biden maintains his lead. The biggest question is whether the Democrats can take the White House and both chambers of Congress. If so, there will be no policy logjam, which means higher stocks and a higher dollar.

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“Anything less would lead to a lot of uncertainty, which is becoming too difficult for markets to price in.”

GARY NG, ECONOMIST, NATIXIS, HONG KONG:

"I think this debate didn’t change things very fundamentally – of course it was a more polite debate than the previous one – but it didn’t change the market’s expectations in terms of the result, so there haven’t been large movements.

"I think in Asia people are still taking a wait and see approach, and that there will continue to be more volatility ahead of the election date.

QUINCY KROSBY, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL, NEWARK:

"Does it change the dynamic of the election? No. Obviously markets and voters will be focused on next week and whether or not there will be a presidential debate.

“Questions going into this were, given ages of the presidential candidates, would either one be prepared to be president? Would either one seem presidential in this debate? Following up on betting sites and so on, and just commentary, they both held up quite well given the fascination with the fact that they both represent an old candidate.”

KENNY NG, EVERBRIGHT SUN HUNG KAI STRATEGIST, HONG KONG:

"In my opinion, investors are paying attention to the second debate of the U.S. presidential election. At the same time, Asian stock markets are performing mixed, while U.S. stock futures are slightly going up.

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“I think the current market will still make further observations on the U.S. election. On the other hand, Biden is currently leading the polls, and the market has begun to digest the expectations of Biden’s election.”

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