• AFP-JIJI

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Asian markets mostly rose Wednesday as traders tracked results of the U.S. presidential election, but investors were on edge over worries that the outcome might not be as clear-cut as hoped.

Shares have rallied this week as traders piled bets on Joe Biden winning the White House, with opinion polls showing him with a big national lead though with slim advantages in battleground states.

While the former vice president was still the favorite, trading floors grew nervous as it became apparent Donald Trump was performing much better than expected.

Investors had been increasingly betting on a Democratic sweep of Congress and the White House, which would pave the way for a massive stimulus package for the stuttering economy but results suggest they will struggle to achieve that.

Tokyo led gains, jumping 1.7 percent, while Hong Kong Shanghai, Seoul, Mumbai, Wellington and Bangkok were also up. Taipei gained one percent and Manila rallied two percent.

However, Sydney and Jakarta fell.

Erika Karp, founder and CEO of Cornerstone Capital Group, warned that “the closer the race is, the bigger the risk is.”

She added: “A close outcome is a risk to the market.”

While a failure for Biden and the Democrats would jolt markets, the general consensus is that whoever wins will still push through a major stimulus package for the struggling U.S. economy as it battles the virus.

In Hong Kong, tech titan Alibaba sank more than seven percent after China’s shock, last-minute decision to suspend the world-record $34 billion IPO of its fintech arm Ant Group less than 48 hours before it was due to debut.

Shanghai’s stock exchange announced the suspension late Tuesday, a day after founder Jack Ma was summoned by regulators amid growing official pushback against the company.

The Shanghai exchange cited “major issues such as changes in the fintech supervisory environment” that it said raised concerns over whether Ant Group could now meet listing requirements.

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