European Shares Seen Lower Amid US Election Uncertainty

European stocks may open lower on Friday as the U.S. election count extends into its third day, with markets still betting on a clear outcome.

The Trump team is pressing legal challenges in several states as vote counting across battleground states showed former Vice President Joe Biden moving closer to winning the White House.

According to Donald Trump, Democrats were using “illegal votes” to steal the election. “If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” he claimed.

On the other hand, Biden appealed for people to stay calm. “We have no doubt that when the count is finished, Senator (Kamala) Harris and I will be declared the winners,” he said in comments to reporters in his hometown of Wilmington.

Asian markets are trading mixed as new lockdowns went into effect in Europe and multiple GOP lawsuits challenged the vote counting process in Pennsylvania.

The dollar rose while gold fell after surging in the previous session. Oil prices fell sharply amid continued uncertainty over the U.S. election results and a surge in coronavirus infections.

The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped the 48.5 million mark, while the death toll surged to more than 1,231,610 as of Friday morning, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

All eyes will be on the U.S. non-farm payrolls report for October due out later in the day, with the report likely to show evidence of a weakening labor market.

Employment is expected to increase by about 600,000 jobs in the month after an increase of 661,000 jobs in September. The unemployment rate is expected to edge down to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent.

U.S. stocks rose for a fourth straight session overnight, as Democrat Joe Biden seemed poised to unseat President Donald Trump and a report showed the number of people filing for jobless benefits held largely steady last week.

The Federal Reserve restated its pledge to use all its tools to help the economy from the coronavirus pandemic, but did not announce any new measures.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 rallied around 2 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index spiked 2.6 percent.

European markets hit a two-week high on Thursday on expectations that a divided U.S. government with Biden as President and Republicans controlling the Senate would keep corporate taxes down. Investors also welcomed an extension of the Bank of England’s QE program.

The pan European Stoxx 600 gained 1.1 percent to extend gains for the fifth straight session. The German DAX climbed 2 percent, France’s CAC 40 index rose 1.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.4 percent.

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