This post has been updated to reflect market performance as of 11:20 a.m. Wednesday.
Financial markets like certainty.
On Tuesday night, as the presidential election's outcome headed toward a Trump victory, stock futures plunged. Investors had bet heavily Monday on Democrat Hillary Clinton. But as Republican Donald Trump picked up many more votes than polls had predicted, markets reacted violently to the change in expectations.
Across the board, it turned ugly for equities, currencies and Treasurys. The CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of investor fear, showed a 30 percent spike.
Japan's Nikkei index closed down more than 5 percent. Pre-opening trading in Dow futures was down 4.6 percent at one point but recovered more than half its losses as the night wore on.
By mid-morning Pacific Standard Time, Treasurys had more than recovered, as had the S&P 500, the Nasdaq and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The shock of this presidential race is hitting markets just months after voters in Britain stunned the world with their Brexit vote to leave the European Union.
Throughout the summer and into the fall, U.S. markets were relatively quiet as investors became confident that Clinton would win. Then in late October, when it appeared the FBI would reopen an investigation into questions about Clinton's email, stocks began a steady fall.
For nine straight days, the S&P 500 drifted down. But that sentiment turned around when the FBI said it had found nothing new that would trigger further action. On Monday, markets rebounded, with investors again becoming confident of a Clinton victory.
Investors generally saw her as a well-known figure whose economic policies would be similar to President Obama's. In contrast, Trump's positions are less clearly spelled out, and businesses generally oppose his key position: tearing up existing trade agreements.
With so much uncertainty, investors shifted money out of stock futures and into safe havens. The Japanese yen shot up against the U.S. dollar while the Mexican peso fell. Gold rose. Ten-year U.S. Treasurys fell.
Original post: 7 p.m. Tuesday
The financial markets are not liking the early results of the presidential elections. All three major stock exchanges have plummeted about 3 percent in pre-market trading. At one point the Dow was down 500 points.
Other economic indicators were also reacting to the uncertainty: Gold rallied and the Mexican peso dropped 8 percent, according to CNBC.
Speaking to brokers, the Wall Street Journal compares the volatility to what happened as markets came to terms with the United Kingdom’s vote to exit the European Union.
"Rightly or wrongly, markets are going to be concerned about a Trump victory, particularly given the potential consequences for world trade and its impact on many large companies in the U.S. stock market," said Ric Spooner, chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. "Like Brexit, the rally over the last two days increases the downside potential if Donald Trump does win the election," he added, referring to Britain's unexpected vote to leave the European Union that shook world markets.
Asian shares have also shed early gains, tumbling Wednesday as Donald Trump gained the lead in the electoral vote count. Earlier, investors had appeared persuaded that Hillary Clinton, seen as a more stable choice, would prevail,