LIVE BLOG: 2020 Election Results and Analysis

Be sure to refresh this page throughout the election to get the latest insights from our global analyst team!

USA (1)

Live Blog Wrap Up!

Matt Weller, 7:20 GMT (2:20am ET) 

Whew - It feels like we’re still in the proverbial “eye of the storm,” and what a tempest it’s been so far! 

Voting results have slowed to a trickle, so we’re closing down tonight’s live blog. You can scroll back through about 6,000 words over the last eight hours to see how the whole night evolved, but as a brief recap of our inaugural Election Night Live Blog: 

  • Early results in Florida showed Trump dramatically outperforming his polls… 
  • …combined with strong leads in the incomplete votes in Georgia and Florida, many traders rushed to put on the trades that worked in 2016: long the US dollar and technology stocks… 
  • …and Joe Biden’s odds in prediction markets sunk as low as 20%. 
  • Just when it seemed like all hope was lost, Biden put in a strong performance to win Southwest swing states like Nevada and, crucially Arizona… 
  • …and late ballots from Georgia’s deep blue Atlanta suburbs put the former Vice President back in the race, with prediction markets now showing a slight lean toward Biden as we await the final counts from Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and of course, Pennsylvania. 
  • Separately, the race for control of the US Senate remains up in the air, with Georgia’s tightly-contested special elections potentially tipping the scales in the weeks to come. Even if Biden pulls out a narrow victory, he may have to contend with a Republican-controlled Senate. 
  • Technology stocks and Treasury bonds were the big winners on the night, along with the US dollar to a lesser extent. 
  • As of writing, President Trump is poised to give a speech about the night, and we’ll be expecting final results from Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan (perhaps enough to call the national election?) in the next 18 hours or so. [Note the couple updates from my colleague Tony Sycamore below contextualizing a couple of the morning's market moves]

So that’s where we stand as this tired US analyst finally hits the sack. We will continue to cover every meaningful development on our Analysis page, and my colleague Fiona Cincotta will have a full recap of the night and market moves out in the next couple hours. 

Stay safe, and best of luck with your trading! 


U.S. election – A "Blue Ripple" helps EURUSD

Tony Sycamore, 11:00am GMT (7:00am ET) 

As I finish up for the evening, media outlets are yet to call most of the important battleground states in the U.S Presidential election, and few of the competitive Senate races. Betting markets have flipped again and have Joe Biden back as the front runner paying $1.63, while Trump is now paying $2.60 on Betfair.

The latest gyration in fortunes, a result of Biden holding onto a narrow lead in Nevada, a state that the Democrats had expected to take. If Biden hangs on in Nevada and Wisconsin where he also holds a very narrow lead then he just needs either Michigan/Pennsylvania/Georgia to fall his way to get him to the 270 electoral votes he needs.

The issue remains is the mail-in ballot counting rules in some of these swing states mean the outcome may still be days away.

This not only leads to the delayed outcome election scenario markets have feared. It is also likely to result in a contested election if any of the aforementioned states turning into the “tipping point” state and a legal challenge is virtually guaranteed.

Nonetheless, the sighting of a “Blue Ripple” has helped the EURUSD trade back above 1.1700 after testing key support at 1.1600 earlier today. To provide more reassurance the uptrend has returned, the EURUSD would need to reclaim resistance at 1.1800.

EUR/USD Chart

Source Tradingview. The figures stated areas of the 4th of November 2020. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. This report does not contain and is not to be taken as containing any financial product advice or financial product recommendation.


U.S. election – we have seen this before!

Tony Sycamore, 10:20 GMT (5:20am ET) 

For those feeling a touch of déjà vu about the 2020 U.S. election, Joe Biden has thus far won more votes than Trump. Biden’s at 67.5 million, Trump’s at 65.8 million.

However as we learned in 2016, it’s not the popular vote that determines a winner. It’s all about the Electoral College and those key battleground states who outside of court proceedings still have a crucial part to play. Regardless of the outcome of the Presidential race, following Brexit, the 2020 and 2016 U.S. elections and the 2017 Australian Federal Election polling methods remain either deeply flawed or people are not willing to share their true intentions, or a combination of both.

For currency traders, one pair that has the potential to move very quickly in the coming days is USDJPY. On the downside 104.20/00 has been very well supported in recent days and months. While topside the 200 day moving average and channel resistance offer good resistance 106.00/10.

A sustained break of either of these levels is likely to see a 200 pip move for USDJPY in the direction of the break.

USD JPY Chart

Source Tradingview. The figures stated areas of the 4th of November 2020. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. This report does not contain and is not to be taken as containing any financial product advice or financial product recommendation.


AUDUSD uncomfortably perched

Tony Sycamore, 7:07 GMT (2:07am ET)

The AUDUSD traditionally a good barometer of the world as it stands remains uncomfortably perched near the .7100 handle, after a round trip today of almost 175 pips.

As things stand according to Bloomberg projections, Biden currently leads the electoral college votes 223 to 212. However, Trump looks set to win enough of the undecided states to take him over the 270 required. This is reflected in the betting markets with Trump now paying $1.59, while Biden sits at $2.56 according to Betfair.

The real question and one likely to play a big hand in the fate of the AUDUSD is what sort of stimulus package lies ahead under a Trump White House and a Democrat controlled House of Representatives?

In the lead up to today’s election, it was thought that this outcome would be for a continuation of the ongoing stalemate over COVID19 aid and less fiscal support than the markets had hoped for under a Blue Wave. All of which would see the AUDUSD underperform, with risks back to and below .7000c.

Source Tradingview. The figures stated areas of the 4th of November 2020. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.  This report does not contain and is not to be taken as containing any financial product advice or financial product recommendation


Watching Michigan, Wisconsin and USDCNY

Tony Sycamore, 6:29 GMT (1:29am ET)

Two states that are now starting to garner closer attention in this tightly contested race are Michigan and Wisconsin. Before today there was an expectation that the Democrats would record comfortable wins in both states.

At this point, the vote is closer than expected with Trump just ahead in both states. However, his lead is likely attributable to election day votes which favour the Republicans. While the mail-in votes that tend to favour the Democrats are still to be counted.  

If you’re feeling the tension, spare a moment to take a quick look at the price action in the Chinese currency the yuan today.

As can be seen, USDCNY rallied up towards 6.7500 as the betting markets began to price in a Trump win and a continuation of Trump's hawkish China policies.

In line with the Trump odds easing over the past hours, USDCNY has eased back towards 6.7115 at the time of writing.   

Source Tradingview. The figures stated areas of the 4th of November 2020. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.  This report does not contain and is not to be taken as containing any financial product advice or financial product recommendation


Market Check-In

Matt Weller, 6:10 GMT (1:10am ET)

Six hours ago (but it feels like 60!), we noted the prices of some key markets we’d be watching tonight. Below, we recap those pre-result prices and update the current levels in parentheses:

  • DJIA futures = 27,564 (27,463, -0.6%)
  • Nasdaq futures = 11,315 (11,533, +1.9%)
  • EUR/USD = 1.1756 (1.1662, -0.8%)
  • USD/JPY = 104.64 (104.89 +0.2%)
  • AUD/USD = 0.7139 (0.7108, -0.4%)
  • WTI Crude Oil = 38.60 (38.56, -0.0%)
  • Gold = 1914 (1897, +0.9%)
  • 10yr Treasury Yield = 0.90% (0.81%, -9bps)

On balance, the movements have been relatively limited, with volatility in the middle and two notable exceptions. Tech stocks are surging and the 10-year treasury bond is as well (yields falling sharply). Perhaps Big Tech companies have joined the global “safe haven” club given their ability to generate excess cash flow in any environment?


S&P500 stalled

Tony Sycamore, 6:01 GMT (1:01am ET)

As we watch on from afar and await more results to drop, one of the key takeaways has been the way that markets have respected key technical levels.

For example, the S&P500 after recovering from its mid-session dive to 3330 was unable to break the layer of decisive resistance 3420 area.

3420 is a level that first became noticeable in early September as resistance, before becoming crucial support one month later.

If the S&P500 can make a sustained break above 3420/30, it should set up a retest of the September 3587 high.

Source Tradingview. The figures stated areas of the 4th of November 2020. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.  This report does not contain and is not to be taken as containing any financial product advice or financial product recommendation


Biden “Feeling Good”, Trump to Rebut

Matt Weller, 5:55 GMT (12:55am ET)

As suspected, Joe Biden didn’t say anything we don’t already know at his speech. The former Vice President noted that he believes he’s on track to win the election and urged patience until all the votes are counted. He noted that he feels confident in Arizona and is “feeling good” about Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Separately, President Donald Trump tweeted “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Poles are closed!” President Trump has just indicated that he will also make a statement tonight.

Looks like one of the most contentious campaigns in history may be heading to a contentious conclusion, which could be the worst-case scenario for risk appetite and markets…


Biden To Take the Stage

Matt Weller, 5:40 GMT (12:40am ET)

In a bit of an unexpected development, Democratic President Joe Biden is set to deliver a speech in Delaware imminently. It’s certainly premature to declare victory or defeat, so it may be more of a false alarm than anything. We’ll update if there are any meaningful developments on this front.


Here’s a Late One That Could Shake Up the Race

Matt Weller, 5:17 GMT (12:17am ET)

Our old friend, the NYT Needle, has seemingly revived from the dead on a state that Republicans had marked in their column hours ago. Based on the NYT’s methodology, the needle now projects Biden as the slight favorite in the Peach State. We’re obviously a bit skeptical given Trump’s outperformance in Florida, and we won’t get a result from Georgia tonight in any event, but a win there would dramatically widen Biden’s (rhyme not intended) path to the White House.

One to watch for traders over the next 24-48 hours…

Source: NYT Upshot


Asian equities trading higher into the close

Tony Sycamore, 5:14 GMT (12:14am ET)

As pointed out by our colleagues, there remains a long way to go before a clear winner is decided.

Reflecting this, betting markets now have Donald Trump out to $1.87 after being in as tight as $1.30. Joe Biden who was as far as $5.00 a few hours ago has come back into $2.08.

In line with this, support has returned to gold and it is now trading back near $1900 after the second test of intraday support ahead of $1880.

After a rapid 1.3% intraday sell-off, the ASX200 looks set to close marginally lower near 6050, while the Nikkei has responded well to a weaker JPY and is currently trading up approximately 2%, near 23750.  

Source Tradingview. The figures stated areas of the 4th of November 2020. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.  This report does not contain and is not to be taken as containing any financial product advice or financial product recommendation


Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel Now…

Matt Weller, 4:58 GMT (11:58pm ET)

Polls close at 12:00PM ET in the following states:

  • Hawaii

Polls close at 1:00AM ET in the following states:

  • Alaska

We’ll just mention the 49th and 50th states in the union together. Interestingly, there is a tight Senate race in Alaska (Sullivan vs. Gross), and with the way things are shaping up, it could conceivably impact which party controls the Senate for the next two years…but we likely won’t know the result of Georgia’s runoff race for weeks.

Regardless, the “Blue Wave” scenario where Democrats take a commanding lead of the Senate (53+ votes) is likely off the table now, so some of the more dramatic policy proposals (massive “Green New Deal”, “Packing” the Supreme Court, etc) will be hard to enact even if Biden ultimately pulls it out and Democrats are able to secure a 50-51 seat majority.


I Don’t Want to Say I Told You So, But…

Matt Weller, 4:44 GMT (11:44pm ET)

We warned at the start of the blog (seriously, scroll down through 4,000+ words) that incomplete state results would be even less predictive of the full outcome than usual, but traders may have ignored that advice and gotten ahead of themselves:

  • After bottoming near 20% to win on some betting markets, Biden has rebounded to ~40% now
  • USD/JPY is unwinding its big spike above 105.00
  • Gold has bounced back to retest 1900
  • Even US indices are coming off their overnight highs!

Source: Bloomberg


*Tap Tap* Is This Thing On?

Matt Weller, 4:30 GMT (11:30pm ET)

After a bout of excitement a bit over an hour ago, markets have stalled out across the board as traders await the next clear signal from the ballots. We should start getting more results from some of the slower Upper Midwest states mentioned below, as well as a continued trickle of votes from Arizona.

Outside of that, it looks like we won’t get final results from Georgia, which is leaning toward Trump but not yet a foregone conclusion with a large vote share from more liberal Atlanta suburbs outstanding.

For traders’ sakes, hopefully the market will glom onto another theme sooner rather than later.


Key Upper Midwest State Final Count Timelines

Matt Weller, 4:22 GMT (11:22pm ET)

Good note here on timelines for the key Upper Midwest States from FiveThirtyEight’s Nathaniel Rakich:

“We should have near-complete unofficial results from Wisconsin early tomorrow morning, as Milwaukee is expected to finish counting around 6 a.m. Eastern. Michigan originally said it would take until Friday to count all of its votes, but officials have revised that estimate to say they’ll be done tomorrow as well. Finally, Pennsylvania results probably won’t be known until Friday.”

All Hail King Dollar!

Matt Weller, 4:09 GMT (11:09pm ET)

While the race for President is still up in the air, it’s clear who the winner is in the FX market so far this election night: the US dollar. The greenback is trading higher against all of its major rivals, with some of the more risk-sensitive currencies like the Australian and Canadian dollars bringing up the rear so far:

Source: FinViz

We had speculated that FX traders may sell the buck if there was an unclear result from the election, but so far, the world’s reserve currency remains on top, even with treasury bond yields falling across the curve.


West Coast, Reporting For Duty!

Matt Weller, 3:53 GMT (10:53pm ET)

Polls close at 11:00PM ET in the following states:

  • California
  • Idaho
  • Oregon
  • Washington

There’s not much to watch when it comes to these states; they’re almost certain to go Biden/Trump/Biden/Biden respectively, with no particularly tight Senate seats in play. Traders remain hyper-focused on results from Arizona, where Biden has taken a somewhat surprising 9-point lead with 75% of the vote counted. A win there would open up a narrow “backup plan” for the former Vice President, even if he loses Pennsylvania (whenever that result becomes final).

Like Kissing Your Sister…

Matt Weller, 3:41 GMT (10:41pm ET)

We don’t want to spend too much time on it, as it’s still a long shot, but this is exactly the sort of map you’d need to see for an electoral college tie. If Biden takes Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Arizona (where the early count has been somewhat favorable to him), but Trump takes Pennsylvania and Ohio (in addition to Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina), the winner of the White House may come down to some of the non-state district electoral votes like ME-2 or NE-2.

Needless to say, a gross electoral college tie (or < 280 vote win) would be the most 2020 development we could imagine…

Joe Perry 03:20 GMT (10:20pm ET)

As the vote tallies continue to mount,  battle ground states are still up for grabs and odds are favoring a Trump victory at this point.  As a result, stocks are moving higher on lower taxes and hopes of better trade deals. Next resistance 3460.  The US Dollar has reversed its HUGE move earlier and is pulling back. 




Reminder: Pennsylvania Won’t Have a Result Tonight

Matt Weller, 3:24 GMT (10:24pm ET)

For anyone staying up late hitting that refresh button:

  1. Thank you – glad to see you’re enjoying the live blog! 
  2. If you’re expecting a clear national result tonight…don’t hold your breath.

Some counties in Pennsylvania can’t even start counting early ballots today, and Philadelphia just declared that nearly 300k votes won’t be counted tonight. This is undoubtedly the most important swing state on the map, and almost certain to be the “tipping point state” that decides the Presidential race overall, but we’ll likely still be counting ballots through at least Friday from the Keystone State.

Keep that in mind before you put on trades that aggressively favor one candidate or the other!


Technology Eats the World, Small Caps Left Out to Dry

Matt Weller, 3:11 GMT (10:11pm ET)

With Trump now priced as the 3:1 favorite on BetFair, equity traders are aggressively putting on pro-Trump trades. Nasdaq 100 futures, as we noted earlier, are now trading higher by over 2% on the night, while shares on the small-cap focused Russell 2000 are essentially flat. In other words, traders are betting that the odds of a massive stimulus bill to “bail out” struggling smaller businesses are falling, which could allow big technology behemoths to continue to gobble up market share.

Another Round of States To Watch…Though No New Swing States

Matt Weller, 2:51 GMT (9:51 ET)

Polls close at 10:00PM ET in the following states:

  • Iowa
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Utah

While some of these states may be “in play,” they’re unlikely to be the ones that ultimately decide the election, so traders will likely be more focused on tallying the ongoing results from some of the earlier swing states we highlighted above. It’s during this window that we’ll likely get as-final-as-possible-given-the-large-share-of-early-votes results from other states, so even if major media companies aren’t comfortable enough to call the outcomes by this period, traders will likely settle into their final positions for the night based, at least when it comes to the Presidential race.

That said, there is a duo of key Senate races we’ll be watching in this window, including a dead heat in Iowa (Ernst vs. Greenfield) and a slight Republican lead in Montana (Daines vs. Bullock). If the Senate picture is still unclear as the night rolls on, these races may be the ones to tip the scales, so they’ll be worth watching closely.


Treasury Yields Tank

Matt Weller, 2:48 GMT (9:48 ET)

After peaking above 0.93% earlier in the night, the yield on the benchmark 10-year treasury bond has fallen to just 0.82% now. This mirrors a big risk-off reaction that we’ve seen across the board (USD up, oil down, etc…) as traders price in higher odds of an extremely tight election that is decided in the courts and may be seen as controversial. Our “Election Night Becomes Election Week (Or Month)” Theory is looking increasingly likely…


Joe Perry 02:45 GMT (9:45PM ET)

Whoa….US Dollar taking off as odds of winning now favor a Trump victory.  EUR/USD testing the 1.1600 support level.

Watch for stocks to move lower if this keep up!




Trump Moves to Odds-On Favorite on BetFair

Matt Weller, 2:26 GMT (9:26 ET)

PredictIt remains down, but Trump is now the odds-on favorite at BetFair. Earlier we noted that Democrats may have a similar sinking feeling to four years ago but it was premature based on the results from just one key swing state. With Trump now looking like a strong favorite in both Georgia and North Carolina, the national race is now essentially a coin flip (that again, is not likely to have a definitive result tonight regardless).

Source: NYT Upshot

Separately, Democrats were able to pick up a Senate seat in Colorado, though with Republicans potentially beating their polls (at least in the Southeast), a “Blue Wave” is looking less likely than it did at the start of the night.



Joe Perry 02:15 GMT (9:15PM ET)

With no surprises at the top of the hour in the polls that closed, markets remain complacent waiting for the next big announcement.  Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Texas all remain in play. 

10 Yields are one of the biggest movers on the nights so far, and may put in a bearish engulfing candle on the 240 minute chart, down 3.35%.




Nasdaq Futures Hit New Highs

Matt Weller, 2:07 GMT (9:07 ET)

After that swoon in risk assets as Florida shifted to Trump, markets have generally settled down over the last hour or so. One interesting exception is the Nasdaq 100 futures, which are hitting their highest levels of the night. Both Trump and Biden have expressed some level of skepticism toward big technology companies, but if a global pandemic can’t derail these behemoths perhaps traders are growing convinced that a little thing like an election won’t either!

Source: TradingView, GAIN Capital


Joe Perry 01:50 GMT (8:50pm ET)

Gold sure looks a lot like the S&P 500 over the last few days.  Gold futures spiked lower from  1918 through the upward sloping channel down to a low near 1880.  It closed the next 30-minute bar near 1900.   The precious metal traded in a 25-handle range over the last 1 hour, but has quieted down since 8:30pm. 

Watch Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin for more volatility at the top of the hour.




Another Group of Key States Starts Reporting This Hour

Matt Weller, 1:55 GMT (8:55 ET)

Polls close at 9:00PM ET in the following states:

  • Arizona *
  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan *
  • Minnesota *
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin *
  • Wyoming

During this window, we’ll start to get the results from the last of the major swing states: Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. As we all remember, Democrats’ “Blue Wall” in the Upper Midwest states like Michigan and Wisconsin crumbled four years ago, delivering the surprise victory to Donald Trump. Based on the polls, the odds of another surprise in these states (as well as neighboring Minnesota) are longer than we saw four years ago, but still in play, and like we saw with Pennsylvania, Trump would be the outright favorite to win re-election if he can capture any of these three states. Meanwhile, Arizona has been trending from red to purple in recent years and is Biden’s best “Plan B” if he loses Pennsylvania; pollsters currently show the former Vice President hanging on to the slimmest of leads in the Grand Canyon State.

As for the Senate, the most notable race to start reporting results in this window will be from Kansas (Marshall vs. Bollier).


Betting Markets Beating Modelers So Far

Matt Weller, 1:49 GMT (8:49 ET)

At the start of the night, we asked whether election modelers, which gave Trump a 3-10% chance of winning re-election, or betting markets, which were closer to 35-40%, had a better read on the vote. While we’re still miles away from the end of the night (much less the end of the vote counting, which could now stretch on throughout the rest of the week or beyond), this certainly doesn’t feel like the blowout many polling models had anticipated.

Perhaps there’s some trading wisdom in there: You can model and backtest a strategy to your heart’s content, but once you test it in the “real world,” you have to be prepared for surprises!


Focus Shifts to North Carolina

Matt Weller, 1:32 GMT (8:32 ET)

With most of the Florida results in and Trump highly likely to pull out the Sunshine State, traders are now shifting their focus to North Carolina. Unlike Florida, we may not get a definitive result out of the Tarheel State, but we should see something like 97% of the total vote counted tonight. Once again, this one is essentially a “must win” for President Trump, and the results are pointing to a coinflip with 62% of the vote counted:

Source: NYT Upshot

The growing likelihood of an ambiguous, drawn out, heavily-litigated outcome could also be putting a damper on risk assets like US index futures, higher-yielding currencies, and oil as we move through the night.



Risk and Inflation Assets Swoon

Matt Weller, 1:20 GMT (8:20 ET)

As Joe noted, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has successfully defended his seat in Kentucky and Trump is looking good in Florida (see below). It seems like markets are taking this as a risk-off sign, perhaps due to a lower probability of a “Blue Wave” and associated massive stimulus bill in January:

  • DJIA futures -400 over the last 30mins
  • AUD/USD -50 pips over the same period
  • Even Gold slipped back below 1900 in a mini-“flash crash” in the low liquidity conditions

Source: TradingView, GAIN Capital



Joe Perry, 01:15 GMT (8:15pm)

Stocks reverse earlier gains at Trump and Biden are neck and neck in Florida.  McConnell also wins Senate seat in Kentucky.  Is the market worried about ‘No Stimulus”?   

3333 is bottom trendline.  3225 is October 30th lows.




NYT Needle Check In: Is Florida “In The Bag” for Trump?

Matt Weller, 0:59 GMT (7:59 ET)

According to the NYT Needle that accounts for precinct level data, Florida is essentially a done deal to go for Trump at this point with 80% of the vote counted…and with it, the most likely chance of a definitive result on election night. While Florida’s demographics are fairly idiosyncratic, some Democrats are no doubt starting to get a sinking feeling like they did four years ago, but there’s still a long way to go for the incumbent to beat his polls in key states like Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Arizona…

Source: NYT Upshot


Joe Perry, 00:55 GMT (7:55pm)

As the DXY bounces slightly, USD/CAD is bouncing as well.  On a 60 minute timeframe, price bounced from 1.3100 as the RSI diverged.  Price now has formed a descending wedge which targets yesterday’s highs near 1.3350.  First resistance at 1.3175




The Next Tranche of States to Report

Matt Weller, 0:51 GMT (7:51 ET)

Polls close at 8:00PM ET in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida *
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania *
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Washington, D.C.

Polls close at 8:30PM ET in the following state:

  • Arkansas

This hour, we’ll start to see the results from a large swath of the countries east of the Mississippi (though interestingly, not all of the key upper Midwest states that delivered Trump’s surprise election night victory in 2016). While fully 18 states will start tallying their votes in this window, markets will be primarily focused on the two most important states for the entire election, Florida and Pennsylvania (*Note that Trump has already built up a strong lead in the Eastern timezone areas of Florida and may be well on his way to securing that key state*). As with the two swing states we mentioned above, these two states are essentially “must wins” for Trump as well, though if he does win one or both of them, his odds improve dramatically. For example, a Trump victory in Pennslyvania would make the incumbent the odds-on favorite to win the entire election (65% according to the FiveThirtyEight state-by-state winner tool). That said, courts have ruled that Pennsylvania must still count ballots received up to three days after election night, so if it’s a tight race as expected, we may not have a definitive answer from the election’s most important state.

When it comes to the Senate, the tightest race to watch through this window will be in Maine, where Republican incumbent Susan Collins polling near even with Democratic challenger Sara Gideon.


Betting Markets Gone Wild!

Matt Weller, 0:41 GMT (7:41 ET)

We were hoping to lean on prediction markets, despite their pitfalls, for an additional source of data as the results rolled in, but it’s been hard. PredictIt, the biggest US prediction market, has gone down entirely, while BetFair, a major UK shop, is oscillating wildly. So far I’ve seen the favorite in Florida shift from Trump to Biden to Trump to Biden and back to Trump now over the last 25 minutes… and we thought emerging market currencies were prone to volatile overreactions!


Joe Perry, 00:35 GMT (7:35pm ET)

Trump wins West Virginia.  Still close in Florida and Ohio. 

DXY continues moving lower: -70 pips on the night @ 93.34.  93.20 is trendline support




Florida Florida Florida!

Matt Weller, 0:27 GMT (7:27 ET)

Early results have started to pour in from Florida, probably the night’s biggest prize (or at least the biggest prize that’s likely to be awarded tonight). As we noted earlier, we won’t be reading too much into the incomplete results as it’s impossible to know the split between early/mail-in votes and election day results, but the NYT “needle” (which at least tries to account for the types of vote shares and correlations between different precincts) is tilting toward Trump with 41% of the state’s vote counted (recall that Florida was essentially a MUST-WIN for Trump):

Source: NYT Upshot



Reflation Trade?

Matt Weller, 0:22 GMT (7:22 ET)

Obviously it’s SUPER early, and this debatably might not be entirely due to the election at all, but it is interesting that the “reflation” trade is catching an early bid, with the benchmark 10-year treasury bond yielding 0.93%, an 11-month high, gold ticking up to $1915, and Bitcoin holding above $14k. Some had speculated that a Democratic "Blue Wave" result would be the most inflationary outcome, but I'm not seeing anything convincing in the results to point to that outcome yet.


Joe Perry, 00:05 GMT (7:05pm ET)

Trump wins Kentucky.  Biden wins Vermont.  Others too close to call.

GBP/USD +60 @1.3108, EUR/USD +45 @ 1.1755 AUD/USD +30  @ .7193,  S&P +27.00 @ 3389

Reminder:  Very low liquidity heading into 7:00pm

GBP/USD

Vote Counting Begins!

Matt Weller, 0:00 GMT (7:00 ET)

Here’s what we’ll be watching starting this hour (from Thursday’s “Election 2020: A State-by-State and Hour-by-Hour Playbook” article):

Polls close at 7:00PM ET in the following states:

  • Georgia *
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Vermont

Polls close at 7:30PM ET in the following states:

  • North Carolina *
  • Ohio
  • West Virginia

In this early window, there are two key swing / potential “tipping point” states to watch: Georgia and North Carolina. According to pollsters, Georgia and North Carolina are essentially dead heats (with a possible lean toward Biden in North Carolina), but they may be essentially “must wins” for Trump. The FiveThirtyEight state-by-state winner tool, which accounts for correlations between different states, shows that Trump’s odds of winning the overall election rise to roughly a one-in-three probability if he’s able to win both of those key Southern states, but drop to < 1% if he loses either of these states. If the early results from these states are pointing to a clear Biden win (in other words, a polling error in favor of Democrats), traders may aggressively put on pro-Biden trades, rather than wait for results from other key swing states like Pennsylvania and Florida (it’s worth noting that the majority of Florida – basically everything but the more Conservative “panhandle” in the central timezone – will start reporting during this window as well).

It will also be worth watching the Senate races in these states, with two of the tightest races in the country in Georgia (including a special election that likely won’t be decided for weeks) and one similarly tight battle in North Carolina; the final Senate race to watch from these states will be Lindsey Graham’s seat in South Carolina, where the prominent Republican has a slight, but not insurmountable, lead over Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison. The Senatorial race results from these early states will go a long way toward determining whether a "Blue Wave” election, where Democrats control the Presidency, Senate, and House of Representatives, remains on the table.

[NOTE THAT NORTH CAROLINA ELECTION RESULTS HAVE NOW BEEN DELAYED TO 8:15 PM ET]


Where Markets Stand

Matt Weller, 23:54 GMT (6:54pm ET)

A quick look at where the markets stand before the votes start rolling in – we’ll be checking back in on these key indicators throughout the night:

DJIA futures = 27,564

Nasdaq futures = 11,315

EUR/USD = 1.1756

USD/JPY = 104.64

AUD/USD = 0.7139

WTI Crude Oil = 38.60

Gold = 1914

10yr Treasury Yield = 0.90%

Source: TradingView, GAIN Capital



Election Models vs. Betting Markets: Who’s Reading the Tea Leaves Correctly?

Matt Weller, 23:45 GMT (6:45pm ET)

For many traders, Donald Trump’s surprising victory over Hillary Clinton four years remains top of mind. As we’ve noted repeatedly over the last few weeks, Trump is even further behind in the polls this time around, with major election modelers like The Economist and FiveThirtyEight giving the incumbent just a 3% to 10% chance, respectively, of emerging victorious.

While the academics and modelers have nearly written Trump off by this point, prediction market bettors give Trump much better odds of winning a second term. On PredictIt, Trump’s implied odds of a victory have risen to roughly 40%(!) as of writing, boosted by some last-minute polls showing a close race in key swing states (and perhaps a “once burnt, twice shy” reaction among punters). By the end of the night, we should have a much better idea of which side had a better read on the race.

Source: PredictIt


How to Handle Early Votes and “Real-Time” Swing State Forecasts

Matt Weller, 23:31 GMT (6:31pm ET)

An astonishing 103M Americans cast their ballots before election day, which is a tremendous development for civil engagement and public health amidst a global pandemic…but it will make election watchers’ jobs (including on this very live blog!) much more difficult this year.

Speaking broadly, those early votes tend to be more Democratic than the overall population, and in many states, they cannot be counted until election day. The upshot is that the election day votes, which are often counted first, are more likely to show initial leads for President Trump and other Republican candidates, only to see a potential “blue shift” as the Democratic-leaning early votes are tallied throughout the rest of the night (and week!). Of course, each state has its own policies, so there’s even a risk of a “red shift” in favor of Republicans in some states.

For reference, the Associated Press called the previous US Presidential Elections at the following times, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see this year’s vote exceed most of the below timelines:

  • 2016: 2:29am ET
  • 2012: 11:38pm ET
  • 2008: 11:00pm ET
  • 2004: 11:19am ET
  • 2000: [Weeks later]
  • 1996: 9:00pm ET

For the purposes of this live blog, we’re planning on being very conservative in interpreting incomplete voting results, because it will be difficult to handicap the distribution of votes outstanding. One tool that can provide some insight on that front is the New York Times infamous “needle,” which uses precinct-level data to project real-time vote shares outstanding and win probabilities. Due to the aforementioned limitations, the NYT is only running the needle for the key Southern swing states of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina this year, but it’s certainly something we may mention throughout the night, though like with any single tool in this unprecedented year, traders should be cautious about drawing strong conclusions based solely on the needle.

Welcome!

Matt Weller, 23:20 GMT (6:20pm ET)

After a multi-year marathon of a Presidential campaign, we’ve finally reached election night in the US! While we may not necessarily know the winner of the Presidential election tonight (more on that later), we’ll certainly know loads more than we do at the moment, and traders will be processing all of the new information in real time.

In our inaugural election night live blog, we’ll be analyzing all the voting data, betting probability changes, and market trends to help guide our traders throughout the night (and likely into the morning as well). We’ve assembled our global research team – including myself and Joe Perry from the US, Tony Sycamore in Australia, and, if necessary, Fiona Cincotta in the UK – to provide around-the-clock coverage from every corner of the globe, so strap in, and don’t forget to refresh the page throughout the night!


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