MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow Up More Than 200 Points As French Vote Triggers Relief Rally

By Wallace Witkowski, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

Investors also look ahead to Trump tax-cut proposal

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U.S. stocks rallied Monday, with major indexes advancing more than 1% in a broad rally after a strong showing by centrist Emmanuel Macron in the French presidential election, which averted fears of a euroskeptic-only runoff.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 222 points, or 1.1%, to 20,770, led by more than 3% gains in J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.(JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.(GS)

The S&P 500 added 25 points, or 1.1%, to 2,373, with nine of the index's 11 sectors trading higher, led by a 2.3% gain in financials, it's biggest one-day pop since March 1. The biggest laggard on the session was real estate, which lost 1.3%.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 71 points, or 1.2%, at 5,981, after reaching an all-time high of 5,983.43 earlier in the session.

Read:After 17 years S&P 500 tech sector finally regains lost ground (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/after-17-years-sp-500-tech-sector-finally-regains-lost-ground-2017-04-24)

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Perceived safe-haven assets like gold, the Japanese yen, and U.S. Treasurys all fell on the day. In a manifestation of relief, the CBOE Volatility Index , or VIX, often known as Wall Street's "fear gauge" dropped more than 24% to 11.06.

See:VIX 'fear gauge' plummets as French election results spark global relief rally (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/vix-fear-gauge-plummets-as-french-election-results-spark-global-relief-rally-2017-04-24)

Macron led the field in the first round of the French presidential election on Sunday with 23.9% of the vote, ahead of far-right euroskeptic candidate Marine Le Pen with 21.4%. The two will now face off in the final round May 7. A poll late Sunday from Ipsos/Sopra Steria showed that Macron leading Le Pen by a margin of 62% to 38%.

Read:4 things investors need to know about France's presidential runoff (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/4-things-investors-need-to-know-about-frances-presidential-runoff-2017-04-23)

Macron advancing to the runoff gave investors an opportunity to cross another market overhang off their fears list, said Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist at Voya Financial. Cavanaugh, however, believes that many of those fears are "much ado about nothing."

"Investors have been using fear to make decisions," Cavanaugh said in an interview. "Until something happens to materially affect earnings, you can't let geopolitics cloud your outlook."

Conservative François Fillon and Socialist Benoît Hamon--the mainstream candidates defeated in the first round--both threw their support behind Macron. The support is seen as fending off National Front leader Le Pen, who has called for scrapping the euro and exiting the European Union, a prospect seen as hugely destabilizing for the region.

"Her radical views on immigration, the European Union and the euro should see a solid resistance from the majority of the population," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at LCG, in a note to clients.

European stocks surged (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/french-stocks-head-for-2-year-high-after-macron-win-eases-frexit-fears-2017-04-24), with the French CAC 40 ending at a two-year high. The Stoxx Europe 600 index leapt 2.1%, and Germany's DAX 30 index climbed 3.4%. The euro gained (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/euro-jumps-to-5-month-high-in-french-election-relief-rally-2017-04-24) 1.1% against the dollar , hovering at five-month highs. The iShares MSCI France ETF (EWQ) surged 5.5% in its biggest one-day advance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/france-etf-has-biggest-one-day-pop-since-2012-on-election-relief-2017-04-24) since August 2012.

The Nikkei 225 rose nearly 1.4%, as investors backed away from perceived havens such as the Japanese yen. The dollar shot to over Yen110 from a level of Yen109 late Friday in New York.

Read:Opinion: The stock market's jump on the French election is more than a relief rally (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-stock-markets-jump-on-the-french-election-is-more-than-a-relief-rally-2017-04-24)

Another haven asset, gold , tumbled $11.60, or 0.9%, to settle at $1,277.50 an ounce (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-futures-drop-as-macron-election-win-hits-safety-plays-2017-04-24). Gold prices climbed Friday amid investor uncertainty ahead of the French election.

Yields for the 10-year Treasury jumped to 2.27% from 2.23% late Friday. The closely watched yield premium that investors demand to hold 10-year French bonds, also known as OATs, over benchmark German government bonds narrowed to 41.40 basis points (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/french-bond-spread-narrows-to-4-month-low-as-frexit-fears-abate-2017-04-24) after widening to around 75 basis points, or 0.75 percentage point, ahead of the first round.

Anticipating a U.S. tax plan: Investors were also waiting to hear more about a "massive" U.S. tax package that President Donald Trump said is coming this week, which could revive the so-called "Trump trade" that started after his election in November, and which came on hopes that policies seen as pro-growth would swiftly pass Congress.

Trump tweeted on Saturday (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/855817226078879748) that he would announce a big tax-reform package on Wednesday. Wall Street stocks pared losses on Friday after Trump told the Associated Press he would unveil a "massive tax-cut" package in the coming week.

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the plan would focus on middle-incomes and "pay for itself" (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mnuchin-says-tax-plan-will-pay-for-itself-with-economic-growth-2017-04-24) through economic growth.

Read: Trump's tax reform may rekindle the dying embers of the stock-market rally (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trumps-tax-reform-may-rekindle-the-dying-embers-of-the-stock-market-rally-2017-04-22)

"It could again be a make-or-break outcome for the U.S. markets, given that Mr. Trump often failed to provide satisfactory details on his 'massive' plans during his first 100 days at the office," said Ozkardeskaya, in a note.

For some, that could be more on the "make" side for stocks. "There were fears that the recent knockback on health care reforms may have stopped Trump in his tracks, yet this week's announcement will put the bulls in the driving seat even when the French feel-good factor has faded," said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG, in a note to clients.

See:This is where the stock market bears will make their last stand (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-is-where-the-stock-market-bears-will-make-their-last-stand-2017-04-21)

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari is set take part in moderated discussion at Claremont McKenna College in Los Angeles at 3:15 p.m. Eastern.

Stocks:Hasbro Inc.(HAS) shares rose 6.9% after profit and sales surpassed expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hasbros-stock-surges-after-profit-and-sales-rise-above-expectations-2017-04-24). Halliburton Co.(HAL) fell 0.3% after the energy services group topped earnings estimates.

Whole Foods Market Inc.(WFM) shares jumped 3.6% following reports that Albertsons is exploring a takeover (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/supermarket-chain-albertsons-exploring-takeover-of-whole-foods-ft-2017-04-24) of the high-end grocery chain.

Shares of C.R. Bard Inc.(BCR) jumped 20% after Becton Dickinson & Co.(BDX) said it would acquire the medical-supplies maker (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/becton-dickinson-buying-cr-bard-in-24-billion-medical-supply-merger-2017-04-23). Becton shares slid 3.3%.

Shares of Akari Therapeutics(AKTX) plummeted 14% after the company gave mid-stage drug trial data.

Other markets: Oil prices slipped 41 cents, or 0.8%, to $49.21 a barrel, as pressure from supply fears remained (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-futures-rebound-from-last-weeks-slide-but-supply-pressure-remains-2017-04-24).

Stocks rose across Asia, with the exception of the Shanghai Composite Index , which fell around 1.5% as investors fretted about potential government action to cool the markets. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-rally-after-french-election-results-2017-04-23)

--Barbara Kollmeyer in Madrid contributed to this report.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 24, 2017 14:24 ET (18:24 GMT)