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Aust markets brace for US poll result

AAP logoAAP 7/11/2016 Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent

Australian financial markets are bracing for a volatile afternoon trading session on Wednesday as the US presidential election results roll out.

The outcome of the past two US elections have been called around 3pm AEDT.

However, the vicious contest between Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump has been close, suggesting the final outcome could be later.

Ms Clinton is seen having a slight edge.

Global strategists at Barclays are predicting a modest share market rally if Ms Clinton does become president, but a nine per cent drop on Wall Street should Mr Trump win.

Australian shares finished cautiously on Tuesday ahead of the vote.

Australians are worried what a Trump win would mean, with the latest Essential Research poll finding only 15 per cent of respondents believing he would be good for the global economy compared with nearly half who thought it would be better under Clinton.

Similar low readings were recorded for Trump on global security, Australian regional security, climate change and Australia's relationship with the US.

New figures showed Australian business confidence eased in October.

Commonwealth Securities chief economist Craig James blamed the result on the significant uncertainty surrounding the US election and the negative impact it has had on share markets.

The National Australian Bank business survey also showed conditions among firms eased in a further sign of moderation in the non-mining economic recovery.

"If the recent trends were to continue, it would be unsettling and imply that the non-mining recovery has started to run out of steam earlier than expected," NAB chief economist Alan Oster said.

NAB already expects the support from commodity exports and housing construction will slow over 2017 and into 2018, forcing the Reserve Bank into cutting the cash rate twice more in response to ongoing low inflation and a more subdued growth outlook.

Despite such economic concerns and the US election, the ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index jumped 3.2 per cent in the past week.

"No doubt consumers are more influenced by the fact that the Aussie dollar continues to lift - making overseas travel and purchases cheaper - and the perception that interest rates are likely to stay low for an extended period," Mr James said.

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