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World markets, Wall Street futures rise on US election day

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets and U.S. futures rose Tuesday on investor hopes that a possible victory by challenger Joe Biden in the American presidential election might lead to more economic stimulus.

Dow futures were up 1.6% while those for the S&P 500 were 1.3% higher ahead of the start of trading on Wall Street. European indexes were up firmly in midday trading, while Asian markets closed higher.

Traders are betting Biden might push for a bigger U.S. stimulus package if he unseats President Donald Trump. That would require support in the Senate, which is controlled by Trump's Republicans. Some incumbents, also up for re-election this week, face challengers from Biden's Democratic Party.

On Monday, Wall Street closed higher amid indications Biden might be leading.

Many investors expect a “Democratic sweep, which is the key to unlocking Congress's ability to deliver significant fiscal stimulus,” said Stephen Innes of Axi in a report.

Which party gets control of the Senate may be just as important as the presidency. If Democrats can gain complete control of Washington, many investors expect them to deliver a big dose of support for the economy.

Democrats and Republicans have been haggling about a stimulus renewal for months, since the last round of supplemental benefits for laid-off workers and other stimulus expired. But a deep partisan divide has so far stymied progress.

Investors and economists alike say the economy needs fresh stimulus, particularly when coronavirus counts are accelerating at troubling rates across Europe and much of the United States.

A contested election, conversely, would mean it could be weeks before the winner of the White House is certain.

The FTSE 100 in London rose 2% to 5,767 and the DAX in Frankfurt advanced 1.8% to 11,997. The CAC 40 in France added 2% to 4,786.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.4% to close at 3,271.07 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 2% to 24,939.73. The Kospi in Seoul gained 1.9% to 2,343.31 and India’s Sensex advanced 1.4% to 40,304.02. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

In Sydney, the S&P-ASX 200 rose 1.9% to 6,066.40 after Australia's central bank, as expected, cuts its key interest rate by 0.15 percentage points to 0.1%.

The governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Philip Lowe, said it was committed to doing what it can to create jobs. The economy contracted in the first half, but Lowe said he expects official data to show some growth in the quarter ending in September.

Investors will also monitor the U.S. Federal Reserve's announcement Thursday of its latest decision on interest rates. The U.S. Labor Department will release its monthly jobs report the following day. About 130 companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to report earnings results this week.

In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil added $1.23 to $38.04 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.02 on Monday to $36.81 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, advanced $1.19 to $40.16. It rose $1.03 to $38.97 the previous session.

The dollar declined to 104.69 yen from Monday's 104.75 yen. The euro gained to $1.1705 from $1.1658.

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