ForexLive's guide to the 2015 UK elections

Here we are at zero hour with the polls open and parents moaning that their schools are closed having been turned into polling stations. One father's face when he turned up at my polling station with his kid all kitted out ready for nursery was a picture, as was the colourful language that followed :-D

Eamonn has already given us his "everything you need to know", along with a nice big heap of "bothered" from downunder :-D

Here's the timeline for those not in the UK (or those that are but don't know), as well as some key points to watch

  • 22.00 bst (21.00 gmt) The polls close
  • 22.00 - 22.15 the major broadcasters will be revealing their own exit polls. This could be the first market mover as the market will be reading a lot into the results. There will either be a consensus or not and the market will either bias towards a majority win or a hung parliament
  • 22.45 - 23.00 - Houghton and Sunderland south are usually one of the first to declare a result. They actually take being first very seriously. It was rumoured that they altered traffic lights to speed up getting the ballot boxes in fast
  • 01.00 - 02.00 The first Scottish results will start to flow in and will be watched closely for how many votes go to the SNP. If they don't pick up many, and Labour keeps or gains more, that will push Labour up as favourites to win and very possibly with a majority
  • 01.00 - 03.00 South Basildon & East Thurrock has been a area that has predicted the result since 1974. Don't park your hat on it but it's one of those things that people look for
  • 04.00 Labour leader Ed Miliband gets his result for his home seat
  • 04.30 Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, and Conservative leader David Cameron's results are expected (different seats). None of the leaders are expected to lose their seats but Clegg's might be a close call
  • 05.30 - 07.00 the last of the area report results. UKip's leader Nigel Farage's are reports around 06.00 and this seat is still very open

The times above are a rough guide and here's the full list of the seats and expected result times

Really from about 05.30 onwards the bulk of results will be in and it's likely we'll have a very good idea how it's going to finish, in terms of seeing a majority party win or whether we're looking hung (literally). We'll also know how the minor parties have done and will be able to gauge who has the bargaining power to help form a government. That's likely to set the tone for trading early Friday.

There's so many permutations for trading I'll just keep to the main outcomes that will likely have the biggest impact

  1. Any party majority win will be the most bullish. A conservative win will be the most, a Labour win will bring political stability at least, while the market decides if the outright change is good or bad. At worst with a Labour maj I think we hold whatever levels we're at at the time
  2. Hung parliament. Again it depends on how the numbers fall. A completely hung parliament, i.e the big parties can't gain the most seats, even with deals with others, will be bearish as it likely means a drawn out period of uncertainty and a possible second election. The market doesn't like uncertainty
  3. Hung parliament but with one side that can do a deal to take over government - Again it's a tough one to detail all the ways it can go so I'll try and list the main ones. Lab/SNP - bearish. Lab/Lib - Neutral-bullish. Con/Lib bullish. Anyone/UKip - bearish

If we're hung then Friday will be all about what deals can be done. Any impasses could weigh on the pound.

As I've mentioned above the market does not like uncertainty and any signs of that will be negative for the pound. A look at the chart for the 2010 election shows you what big change and uncertainty can do

GBPUSD over the 2010 election

The reality is that this is going to be tough to trade as we could swing from result to result. This won't be for the faint hearted so if you're in positions and unsure then use today to maybe lock in our profits or look to hit the sidelines. The best way to trade this is likely to be reactionary rather than picking a side as there really are so many possible outcomes

As always we'll have you covered throughout the night and as the first numbers come in, and through the results. One of Mike or I (or both) will be on hand to add our analysis, though I'm bloody well not doing a 24hr stint like I did for the Scottish vote ;-)

Tomorrow will mark the next chapter for UK politics and set the tone for the pound. It's going to be fun