French Stock Futures Soar After Macron Election Win Eases 'Frexit' Fears

By Sara Sjolin Markets MarketWatch Pulse

French stock futures moved sharply higher on Monday morning after Emmanuel Macron won the first round of voting in the French presidential election, easing fears that two anti-European Union candidates would be in the final runoff. Futures for the CAC 40 index jumped 4.7% to 5,230, leading premarket gainers among European indexes. Futures for the Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 1.5% to 379. Banks posted some of the biggest advances ahead of the European opening bell, sending futures for the Stoxx Europe Banks index up 5.9%. The upbeat mood came after centrist Macron and far-right Marine Le Pen came in first and second in France's presidential election on Sunday, qualifying for the second round on May 7. Investors had feared two euroskeptics -- Le Pen and far-left Jean Luc Melenchon -- would make it to the runoff vote as opinion polls had been extremely tight. Both candidates had promised to put France's EU membership up for a referendum. "Investors who seek to benefit from today's news in company-related markets, need to focus on equities, where the performance potential over the coming days is clearly higher, as stock markets did not react much to recent robust macro data," analysts at UniCredit said in a note. "Investors were too reluctant to take corresponding risks ahead of the elections. French banks, alongside European banks in general, will likely be the biggest winners," they added.

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