LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Leaps As Markets Take Heart From French Election Result

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Gold miners lag as investors embrace risk

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U.K. stocks surged Monday, keying off a broad rally led by French equities, as centrist Emmanuel Macron's first-round win in France's presidential election eased worries that two euroskeptics would be in the final runoff.

The FTSE 100 leapt 1.8% to 7,240.55, the largest percentage rise since early December, according to FactSet data showed. Just four components on the blue-chip index were losing ground.

In Paris, the CAC 40 ran up as much as 4% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/french-stocks-head-for-2-year-high-after-macron-win-eases-frexit-fears-2017-04-24) after centrist Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen came in first and second in French voting Sunday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/french-stock-futures-soar-after-macron-election-win-eases-frexit-fears-2017-04-24).

There had been concerns among investors about the prospect of a final-round showdown between Le Pen and far-left candidate Jean Luc Melenchon. Le Pen wants a referendum on France's membership in the European Union, and Melenchon had said a referendum should be held on renegotiating EU treaties.

Macron is now leading the polls to win the presidency in the final round in May.

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"Polls for the second round between Macron and Le Pen have consistently shown a 20%-plus lead for Macron. Indeed, he kicks off the next stage of the campaign as clear favorite to win on 7 May, especially given the relative accuracy of the polls this time around," said Investec economist Philip Shaw, in a note.

"At some stage, attention may well turn towards Mr. Macron's new En Marche party and the size of its representation at the National Assembly elections on 11 and 18 June. But for now markets will digest yesterday's results," he said.

Banks on the rise: London-listed bank shares were among the biggest gainers, riding up alongside a surge in bank stocks in France and across Europe.

HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBA.LN) pushed up 1.7%, Barclays PLC (BCS) moved higher by 3.9%, and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS.LN) bulked up 2.7%.

Also, Standard Chartered PLC (STAN.LN) advanced 3.3%, while Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.LN) picked up 1.7%.

Other movers: British Gas parent Centrica PLC (CNA.LN) was among the few decliners on the FTSE 100, down 4%.

Gold miner Randgold Resources PLC (RRS.LN) fell 4.7%. The move came as gold prices dropped more than 1%, as investors embraced more risk assets.

The euro was up more than 1% against the pound, buying 84.73 pence.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 24, 2017 04:08 ET (08:08 GMT)