Wall St. set to open little changed on election day

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., November 7, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Wall Street looked set to open little changed on Election Day as Americans headed to vote for their next president, with the odds currently favoring Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton.

Clinton has a 90 percent chance of defeating Republican nominee Donald Trump, according to the final Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation poll released on Monday.

The former secretary of state was on track to win 303 votes in the Electoral College to Trump’s 235, clearing the 270 needed for victory.

The iShares MSCI Mexico Capped ETF (EWW.P), known of late as the “Trump ETF”, was flat, after notching its best day in more than five years on Monday. The ETF is viewed as a barometer of Trump’s chances of winning the election since his policies are considered negative for Mexico.

Investor appetite for riskier assets appeared to be low as Wall Street is also coming off its best day in more than eight months on Monday after the FBI said it would not press criminal charges against Clinton over her use of a private email server.

“Today is going to be a waiting game and likely the calm before the storm tomorrow, which can go either way depending on the outcome,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

The CBOE Volatility index .VIX, dubbed Wall Street’s “fear gauge”, was up 3.4 percent, after having notched its biggest one-day drop since late June on Monday.

Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were down 18 points, or 0.1 percent at 8:26 a.m. ET, with 30,416 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were down 3.75 points, or 0.18 percent, with 178,731 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were down 8 points, or 0.17 percent, on volume of 24,779 contracts.

Investors favor Clinton as they view her offering greater clarity and stability to the markets. A Clinton win is also perceived as not hindering the chances of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates next month.

On the other hand, Trump’s stance on foreign policy, trade an immigration is more uncertain and therefore more unnerving for the markets.

Still, traders remain wary, noting Britain’s shock vote in June to leave the European Union had wrongfooted bookmakers and most pollsters.

“The Brexit effect is in play. However, unlike Brexit, if we get a Trump victory, I believe the effect will last a little longer,” Bakhos said.

The dollar .DXY was flat against a basket of currencies, but still on track for its second day of gains, while crude oil prices were steady at around $45 per barrel.

Safe haven assets such as gold XAU= and the yen JPY= were trading slightly higher, indicating heightened caution.

Among stocks vying for attention was Hertz (HTZ.N) which slumped 36.32 percent to $22.79 premarket after the car rental company slashed its full-year profit forecast.

Valeant (VRX.N) tumbled 8.4 percent to $17.47 in heavy volume after the drugmaker reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly adjusted profit and cut its full-year profit and revenue forecasts.

CVS (CVS.N) dropped 15.11 percent to $70.80 after the drugstore operator cut its full-year profit forecast due to slowing prescription growth and the loss of contracts to rivals. Walgreens (WBA.O) was off 3.4 percent.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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