Strong earnings

ASIAN stocks advanced on Thursday, propelled by strong US earnings and oil prices near a 15-month high, as the third and final US presidential debate before the November 8 election ended.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei extended gains to 1 per cent.

China’s CSI 300 reversed earlier gains to fall 0.1 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 0.5 per cent.

In the final debate between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump tried to reverse the momentum in an election that polls show is tilting away from him.

“Never in the history of the US has a candidate faced such a deficit in the polls as Mr Trump currently holds, with at least two well-known sites (that model the probability of the outcome) putting an 85-90 per cent chance of a Clinton win,” Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne, wrote in a note.

“But as 2016 has shown us, not just in politics, but in markets too, it can often pay to expect the unexpected.”

At the end of the debate, the Mexican peso had inched up against the dollar.

The US dollar slipped 0.2 per cent to 18.46 pesos, extending losses to 2.9 per cent this week.

Mr Trump’s radical positions on Mexican migration and trade could severely disadvantage the US’s southern neighbour if he wins, so a stronger Mexican peso reflects lower market expectations of a Mr Trump win.

Mr Trump refused to say in the debate whether he would accept the outcome of the November 8 election, after earlier urging supporters to patrol polling places in inner cities to prevent voter fraud.

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