THE NEWS WRAP: Financial markets hope for decisive victory either way in US election

Voting is underway in the US presidential election, with the race considered too close to call, although most polls point in the direction of a narrow victory for incumbent Barack Obama.

 

Mitt Romney, Obama’s Republican challenger, continued to campaign on election day in a bid to reach the 270 electoral college votes needed for victory.

 

Financial markets analysts have said that a clear victory for either candidate is needed in order to avoid skittishness among businesses.

 

RBA rates decision slammed

 

Business leaders have bemoaned the Reserve Bank of Australia’s surprise decision to keep interest rates on hold yesterday.

 

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly said that a rate cut was needed to bolster consumer confidence, while the National Retail Association called on the RBA to lower rates from the current level of 3.25% when it meets in December.

 

Microsoft to scrap IM tool

 

Microsoft is to “retire” its instant messaging chat tool in favour of Skype, the business it paid $8.5 billion for 18 months ago.

 

Windows Live Messenger is to be scrapped around the world in 2013, with the exception of China. Just three years ago, Microsoft said the service had 330 million users.

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 168.66 points, or 1.29%, at 13,281.10. The Australian dollar was up to US104.38 cents.

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