Global markets plunge as Republican Donald Trump gains a path to U.S. Presidency

Forbes–  Markets around the world are beginning to price in a Donald Trump victory, as the Republican nominee’s path to the presidency has become almost inevitable after a sweep of many hard fought swing states in the midwest, southeast, and rust belt. As the votes rolled in for Trump U.S. stock markets plunged, with futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 734 points, or over 4%, as investors began to brace for Trump’s anti free trade economic agenda.

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The same fear was evident at the open of trading in Europe, where stocks in London plunged over 4%, and losses accelerated in Asian markets. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong tumbled 2.7%, the South Korean Kospi fell 2.5% and the Japanese Nikkei 225 was down 5.1%. Australian and New Zealand markets fell by a similar measure.

Fear proxies like the U.S. dollar, gold and government bonds surged. Gold rose $41 to $1,316 a troy ounce, or over 3.2%. Ten-year U.S. Treasury note yields fell 12 basis points to 1.73%, indicating an investor flight to the safety of government bonds. The euro fell 2%, while the Japanese yen fell 3%.

The Mexican peso, the asset that has swung most violently depending on prospects for the presidential vote, plunged. On Tuesday, as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton showed strength in early voting, the peso rose to two-week highs. However, it tumbled over 13.07% after midnight when CNN called a string of states for Trump including Ohio, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina and Utah.

Virginia, Michigan, Maine and Minnesota are trending in Clinton’s direction, while Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona are moving in Trump’s favor. New Hampshire remain too close to call.

As voting has come in decidedly in favor of Trump, defying the expectations of almost every national poll and many state polls, it was the IBD/TIPP Tracking poll that may have won Tuesday. It predicted Trump’s victory in a final national survey on Tuesday afternoon.

Others who foresaw Trump’s outperformance in the general election, for instance DoubleLine Capital’s Jeffrey Gundlach, did not back down from their calls on Tuesday.

“I think we can all agree that Donald J. Trump has massively outperformed expectations in the past,” said Gundlach on a conference call with investors Tuesday evening. Such an outcome would “cause a downgrade of global growth expectations or maybe even a global growth scare,” Gundlach told FORBES earlier in the year.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Dan Loeb of Third Point LLC also said last week he reduced his market exposure and increased hedges ahead of the election, comparing the vote to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June.

“We clearly didn’t predict the outcome of Brexit, but we definitely saw that as a point in time where you had to ascribe some percentage to a scenario where there was a surprise. So we’ve done the same thing here,” he said on Nov. 4.