Asian shares fall amid uncertainty about Georgia senate runoff

In the United States, control of the Senate is at stake withTuesday’s dual runoff elections in Georgia.

Asian shares edged lower on Tuesdayamid uncertainty about Senate runoffs in Georgia, which couldhave a big impact on incoming U.S. President Joe Biden’s economic policies.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japanfell 0.12%, pulling back from a record high hitin the previous session. Australian stocks fell 0.16%.

Japanese shares lost 0.47% after a media report thatthe government will curb business hours in Tokyo and surrounding cities from Thursday.

U.S. S&P 500 stock futures edged up 0.09%.

Oil futures extended declines in Asian trading after majorproducers delayed a decision on whether to increase output.

In the United States, control of the Senate is at stake withTuesday’s dual runoff elections in Georgia.

A Democratic victory in both races could tip control of theSenate away from Republicans, but both contests are very tightand the results may not be immediately known, which could leadto a repeat of the chaotic vote re-counts after the U.S.presidential election last year.

"2021 starts with a bang with pivotal political and economicnews for markets to digest. The undisputed highlight will be theresult of the Senate seat run-off elections in Georgia," JamesKnightley, chief international economist at ING, wrote in aresearch memo.

"If the Democrats win both seats this should lead to themost substantial 2021 fiscal stimulus. Nonetheless, it could bethe excuse for a near-term consolidation in risk markets after astrong post-election rally."

Uncertainty about the Georgia vote and worries about risingcoronavirus infections sent Wall Street sharply lower on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.27%, the S&P500 lost 1.49%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaqdropped by 1.48%.

Outgoing Republican President Donald Trump’s call topressure Georgia’s top election official to "find" votes tooverturn his loss to President-elect Biden in the state as alsounnerved some investors.

The MSCI’s broadest gauge of global stockseased by 0.09% in Asia on Tuesday, also pulling back from arecord reached in the previous session.

Increased risk aversion helped support the dollaragainst most currencies, but moves were subdued at the start ofthe year.

U.S. crude futures fell 0.46% to $47.40 a barrel.Major oil producers will meet later on Tuesday to decide onoutput levels for February after talks broke down the previousday.

Gold was slightly lower. Spot gold fell 0.12% to$1,939.26 per ounce.

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