Republican nominee Donald Trump has won crucial battleground states Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and North Carolina in a series of shock wins in the 2016 presidential election, US media reported early Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta told assembled supporters in New York to "go home," after it became clear his candidate would not be appearing at what was expected to be her victory celebration.
"Let's wait a little longer," Podesta said with Trump expected to win by a clear margin.
As of 2:15 a.m. EST (9:15 a.m. Israel time) Trump had 265 electoral votes to Clinton's 218, with US television networks projecting 85% of votes.
US media also projected Trump as the victor in Georgia, Iowa and Texas as exit polls showed Clinton clinching California, New York, Virginia and Washington.
The race continued neck in neck in other key states, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, Clinton was projected to win the western state of Nevada and its six electoral votes.
Clinton is seen by financial markets as more likely to ensure financial and political stability and as the early election results showed a close battle, the US dollar skidded in wild Asian trade on Wednesday.
Much of the action was in currencies where the Mexican peso has become a touchstone for sentiment on the election, as Trump's trade policies are seen as damaging to Mexico's export-heavy economy.
Going into Election Day, Clinton led Trump, 44 percent to 39 percent in the last Reuters/Ipsos national tracking poll. A Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation poll gave her a 90 percent chance of defeating Trump and becoming the first woman elected US president.
Also at stake on Tuesday was control of Congress. Television networks projected Republicans would retain control of the House of Representatives, where all 435 seats were up for grabs.
In the Senate, where Republicans were defending a slim four-seat majority, Democrats scored their first breakthrough in Illinois when Republican Senator Mark Kirk lost re-election. But Republicans Rob Portman in Ohio and Marco Rubio in Florida won high-profile Senate re-election fights.
In a presidential campaign that focused more on the character of the candidates than on policy, Clinton, 69, a former US secretary of state, and Trump, 70, a New York businessman, accused each other of being fundamentally unfit to lead the country.
Trump again raised the possibility on Tuesday of not accepting the election's outcome, saying he had seen reports of voting irregularities. He gave few details and Reuters could not immediately verify the existence of such problems.