To understand how fearful investors are of all the wild cards in Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election, just take a look at the gold market.
Hedge funds are piling into the perceived safety of bullion, increasing their wagers that the metal will rally for a second straight week, U.S. government data showed Friday. That marked the first consecutive gain since July as money managers pushed their holdings to a one-month high.
Anxiety has gripped the financial markets with opinion polls signaling a tightening race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, who showed signs of strength with early votes cast in Iowa and Ohio. Wary investors pushed the S&P 500 Index of equities to its longest slump since 1980, fleeing to assets such as gold that are deemed less risky. Bullion futures in New York have risen for four straight weeks.
“Investors are squaring their books going into elections to make sure they’re hedging their risk,” said Chad Morganlander, a Florham Park, New Jersey-based money manager at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., which oversees about $172 billion. “When you have more volatility within the financial system, then investors gravitate towards safe haven asset classes.”