World markets follow Wall Street higher ahead of election

A currency trader works at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, June 10, 2019. Asian financial markets advanced on Monday after China released better-than-expected trade data for May. Gains were reined in by worries over where the world’s two largest economies stood on trade negotiations. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

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

London and Frankfurt opened higher, while Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney also advanced. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

Traders are betting Biden might push for a bigger U.S. stimulus 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.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 1.1% to 5,717.14 and the DAX in Frankfurt advanced 0.6% to 11,854.23. The CAC 40 in France added 0.8% to 4,730.68.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index was up 0.8% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.6%.

The S&P 500 rose 1.2% on Monday, while the Dow gained 1.6%. The Nasdaq composite picked up 0.4%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.4% to 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.

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.

India’s Sensex advanced 1.4% to 40,304.02. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets advanced.

Investors have swung between optimism the global economy was coping better with the coronavirus pandemic and unease that U.S. legislators have failed to approve new aid after expanded unemployment benefits that supported consumer spending expired.

Traders appear to be hoping a win by Biden and Democrats in the Senate might break the deadlock.

Markets are uneasy about rising infection rates in Europe, which are prompting more governments to reimpose restrictions on travel and business.

Also this week, the U.S. Federal Reserve is due to announce its latest decision on interest rates on Thursday.

The U.S. Labor Department releases its monthly jobs report the following day.

About 130 companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to report results this week.

Investors worry that a contested election would mean it could be weeks before the winner of the White House is certain.

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.

Such worries helped drive the S&P 500 to a 5.6% loss last week. That was its worst since March.

In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil added 48 cents to $37.29 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 41 cents to $39.38. It rose $1.03 to $38.97 the previous session.

The U.S. dollar declined to 104.56 yen from Monday’s 104.75 yen. The euro gained to $1.1686 from $1.1658.