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World stocks mixed after Wall Street election gains

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets followed Wall Street higher on Friday amid protracted vote-counting following this week's U.S. elections.

London and Frankfurt rose in early trading. Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney closed higher. Shanghai declined.

Markets are betting on control of the U.S. Congress being split between Republicans and Democrats, which could mean low taxes and light regulation that investors like will stay in place.

“I find it remarkable how relaxed these markets are under the circumstances,” said Craig Erlam of Oanda in a report. “Hopefully, the faith investors have shown is rewarded, because the last thing we need is an extremely messy conclusion to what has already been a hostile and divisive election.”

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London gained 0.4% to 5,924.62. The DAX in Frankfurt rose 0.2% to 12,593.03 and France's CAC 40 added 0.3% to 4,996.26.

The S&P 500 future was off 0.3% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2%.

In Asian trading, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.9% to 24,325.23 while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2% to 3,312.16. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained less than 0.1% to 25,712.97.

The Kospi in Seoul advanced 0.1% to 2,416.50 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 rose 0.8% to 6,190.20.

India's Sensex gained 1.2% to 41,821.54. New Zealand and Jakarta gained while Singapore and Bangkok retreated.

Overnight on Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index closed 1.9% higher. It is moving toward its biggest weekly gain since April. The Dow gained 1.9% and the Nasdaq composite climbed 2.6%.

Joe Biden leads in vote counting for Tuesday's U.S. presidential election, but President Donald Trump and his supporters are questioning the legitimacy of the totals with key states still counting ballots.

“Markets are still betting on a clear election outcome (presumably Biden),” said Mizuho Bank in a report.

Analysts warn that an extended court battle with no clear winner could increase uncertainty, which markets dislike, and drag down stocks.

Also Thursday, the U.S. Federal Reserve said its key interest rate will be left at a record low near zero. It reaffirmed its readiness to do more to support the economy under threat from a worsening coronavirus pandemic.

Technology stocks helped power the rally. Rising expectations that Republicans can hold onto the Senate are easing investors’ worries that a Democratic-controlled Washington would beef up anti-monopoly laws and go after Big Tech more aggressively.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 34 cents to $38.45 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 36 cents on Thursday to $38.79. Brent crude, the international price standard, declined 30 cents to $40.63 per barrel in London. It shed 30 cents the previous session to $40.93.

The dollar declined to 103.48 yen from Thursday's 103.51. The euro rose to $1.1848 from $1.1838.

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