A pedestrian looks at an electronic stock board displaying the closing figure of the Nikkei 225 Stock Average, top center, outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan (Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg)

Friday Morning Briefing: Asia Extends Fall On U.S. Election Angst, Oil Below $45

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Asian markets opened negative as their peers in the U.S. continued to sell-off ahead of the presidential election on November 8. Demand for haven assets continued to rise while oil prices fell below the $45 per barrel mark.

Clinton Vs Trump: Tight Race

Democratic Party’s nominee Hillary Clinton has a slender lead over her Republican rival Donald Trump, according to two polls released on Thursday.

A New York Times/CBS poll found Clinton ahead 45 percent to 42 percent among likely voters, tighter than her nine-point lead in the same poll in mid-October. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.

A Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll found Clinton ahead within the margin of error, 47 percent to 45 percent, having lost ground to Trump since last week.

BOE Pause, Brexit Verdict

The Bank of England left monetary policy unchanged and said that it is no longer expecting to cut interest rates this year. A London court ruled the U.K. must hold a vote in Parliament before starting the formal countdown to Brexit.

The two factors pushed the pound to a four-week high. The British currency is set to post a weekly gain of as much as 2.5 percent against the dollar.

Crucial U.S. Jobs Data

Filings for unemployment benefits in the U.S. unexpectedly rose to the highest level in almost three months. Jobless claims increased by 7,000 last week to 2,65,000, according to a report from the labor department. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted the number to fall to 2,56,000.

Investors will watch out for the October non-farm payrolls data later this evening. Economists expect payrolls rose by 1,73,000 workers, after increasing by 1,56,000 in September, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

U.S. non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index fell more than expected to 54.8 in October compared to 57.1 in September, according to a report from the Institute of Supply Management. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted a reading of 56.

The odds for the U.S. Federal Reserve to hike lending rates in December stood unchanged at 78 percent, according to futures rates tracked by Bloomberg.

Uncertainty Roils U.S. Markets

Technology and healthcare stocks led the fall in the U.S. equity markets on Thursday as investors grappled with the uncertainty over the outcome of the presidential election, and disappointing economic data.

The S&P 500 Index fell for the eighth straight day, posting its longest losing streak since 2008. The NASDAQ Composite Index under-performed other benchmarks, falling 0.9 percent.

Oil Slips Below $45

Oil continued to slide, falling below the $45 per barrel mark after a record jump in U.S. stockpiles earlier this week. Growing skepticism over OPEC’s (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) ability to arrive at a deal for output quotas also weighed on prices.

Oil has lost almost 8 percent this week and is set to post its worst weekly performance since February.

Friday Fever?

The SGX Nifty Index was trading 0.48 percent lower at 8,478 as of 7:10 a.m. indicating further weakness for Indian equities that are on a four-day losing streak.

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