Kiwi falls as US blue wave falters

The New Zealand dollar reversed early gains as a path for a decisive Democratic win in the US election faded as incumbent President Donald Trump pulled ahead in Florida leaving the race too close to call.

Wednesday, November 4th 2020, 6:20PM

by BusinessDesk

Pat Gilligan, a director at Forex, said late polls and early results favouring Democratic candidate Joe Biden had pushed the US dollar lower allowing other major currencies to climb.

The kiwi dollar hit a peak of 67.39 US cents—from 66.32 cents at 5pm yesterday—as results began rolling in at 1pm in New Zealand but quickly turned back as Trump took the lead in the must-win state of Florida.

The kiwi fell one cent to a low of 66.20 US cents before recovering to 66.55 cents at 5pm in Wellington.

“A lot of those early numbers were for Biden, but as they are counting the actual physical votes, it is going back to Trump,” Gilligan said. 

“The market just wants a clear outcome either way, Trump or Biden would be positive for stocks and for a weaker US dollar, but they don’t want anything contested.”

New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 0.6, adding 69.62 points to reach 12,199.93. The move followed two consecutive days of strong gains on Wall Street.

Within the index, 29 stocks rose, 17 fell and four were unchanged. Turnover was $150 million.

General manager of CMC Markets NZ, Chris Smith, said markets had flipped to focus on a Trump win—although it was too early to call—with the tech-heavy Nasdaq futures up 3.5 percent.

“Offshore markets generally just watch until they see the outcome,” he said. “The markets are looking for certainty, but so far futures are indicating a very strong open on the Nasdaq.”

“The market just wants the election to be over. If we can get a clear winner tonight, the market will react positively.”

Some of the market leaders were in more defensive sectors. Precinct Properties lead the local share market higher, rising 3.5 percent to $1.76. Argosy Property rose 2.9 percent to  $1.44 and infrastructure investment manager Infratil was up 2.9 percent at $5.40.

Cancer diagnostics company Pacific Edge, which recently gained approval to be part of the US national health insurance programme, was up 2.9 percent at 71 cents.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which also sells medical devices into the US, was up 1.3 percent at $36.

Pushpay Holdings plummeted 8.7 percent to $8.40 after sharing its half-year result. At first glance the result was positive, with revenue and profit both rising significantly. However flat customer growth and the departure of the Huljich family from the board seemed to prompt a sell-off from some investors.

The Huljich family hold more than 15 percent of the company and Peter Huljich’s departure from the board releases him from restrictions on sell shares.

Pushpay said the family has not indicated any intention to sell down their holdings.

In other currency crosses, moves were less dramatic, the trade-weighted index was at 71.64 at 5pm, from 71.42 yesterday. The kiwi traded at 93.64 Australian cents from 94.14 cents, 69.92 yen from 69.44 yen, 57.15 euro cents from 56.91 cents, 51.20 British pence from 51.31 pence, and 4.4729 Chinese yuan from 4.4383 yuan.

Tags: Market Close

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