The US votes for the House and one-third of the Senate today

My rule of thumb on elections is that the hype and fear never matches the reality. There's all kinds of talk about what every outcome means for the market but the general rule is that once the smoke clears, everyone takes a sigh of relief no matter the outcome.

But during the event it will be a great time to trade. To me it's virtually a foregone conclusion that Republicans will hold the Senate or expand their slim majority their. The focus is on the House where the Democrats are favored by pollsters to take control. The current House has 236 Republicans and 193 Democrats, with six vacant seats.

Of course, we all know that pollsters have been wrong before. The actual votes that count are being cast now and will be counted after they close. Exit polls will also be published after polls close and will be the first real indications of how the race is going to go.

Here are the schedules for when the polls close:

  • 18:00 EST (2300 GMT): Most Indiana and Kentucky
  • 19:00 EST (midnight GMT): Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia
  • 19:30 EST (00:30 GMT): North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia
  • 20:00 EST (01:00 GMT): Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee
  • 20:30 EST (01:30 GMT): Arkansas
  • 21:00 EST (02:00 GMT): Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming
  • 22:00 EST (03:00 GMT): Iowa, Montana, Nevada, Utah
  • 23:00 EST (04:00 GMT): California, Hawaii, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington
  • 01:00 EST (06:00 GMT): Alaska

From the first set, there are some key races that could offer some insight into the national mood.

Georgia's 6th district and Kentucky's 6th are seen by pollsters as tossups, as is Virginia's 7th. The first market-moving results are likely to be from Kentucky's 6th District where Amy McGrath, a former combat pilot, is challenging Republican Rep. Andy Barr in a dead heat. That's been a nasty race and has its own dynamics so it would be too much to extrapolate much from it but Trump won the district by 15.3 points.

The bulk of results will come in around 8 pm ET (0100 GMT) and that's when we will get the real market moves.

Here are the 75 districts that are in play, from the New York Times. Closely watching those will be the best indication of which way the House will go. Ignore stats on the popular vote, which is expected to show a 5-6 percentage point will for Democrats.

What time are the official midterm results?

The votes will be counted throughout the night and all-but-the-closest races will be decided by 3 am ET (0800 GMT). We will have a clear idea of what happened earlier with vote results trickling out as soon as the polls close.

How to interpret the numbers

The market won't wait for the TV news to figure it out. If there's a 'blue tide' the market will price it in before polls close in California. Any trend that's widespread in the eastern and central US will be expected to continue out west.

Other spots to watch

Virginia's 10th district is seen as a must-win pickup for Democrats and the 2nd district in the same state will also be seen as a national bellwether.