EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks End Week At 21-month High Ahead Of French Election

By Sara Sjolin and Carla Mozee, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Oil prices send energy stocks on roller-coaster ride

European stocks climbed out of the red and finished at a 21-month high Friday, as buying appetite for assets perceived as risky returned ahead of the French presidential election.

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The Stoxx Europe 600 index turned higher during the session, ending up 0.7% at 394.54, its highest since August 2015.

The pan-European benchmark logged a 1.9% weekly advance, boosted by well-received earnings reports and hopes that centrist Emmanuel Macron will beat far-right Marine Le Pen in Sunday's runoff race in France.

See: When are the election results due on Sunday? (

France's CAC 40 index finished up 1.1% at 5,432.40, sticking to its highest level since January 2008. The index closed the week up 3%, extending last week's rise of 4.1%.

"We believe that the most immediate effect of a Macron win on Sunday would be to ameliorate concerns about the rise of populism in Europe for at least the next few months, likely providing a boost to global financial market sentiment," said Peter Donisanu, analyst at Wells Fargo, in a preview of Sunday's runoff race.

"Nevertheless, European market participants have largely priced in a Macron victory, potentially setting the stage for a short-term 'buy the rumor, sell the news' pullback in European risk assets," he said.

Read:Brace for market mayhem if Le Pen unexpectedly wins French presidency (

The euro hit $1.1000 late Friday, a level it hasn't traded above since early November, according to FactSet data.

Also, the iShares MSCI France ETF ( traded at its highest since July 2014 on Friday. In the fixed-income market, the yield on France's 10-year bond rose 1 basis point to 0.77%.

Germany's DAX 30 index closed at a record high, finishing up 0.6% at 12,716.89. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index moved up 0.7% to close at 7,297.43. (

Read:European equities a buy, but watch for this Trump risk: Eaton Vance (

Oil U-turns: After settling at the lowest level in five months on Thursday, oil prices staged a turnaround Friday, with West Texas Intermediate crude up nearly 2%. But for week, the contract was set for a 6% slide.

Read:OPEC faces high-stakes decision as oil drops to 5-month low (

Shares of oil companies swung higher as crude prices turned positive. BP PLC (BP.LN) (BP.LN) ended up 1.5%, Total SA (TOT) (TOT) rose 2%, and Eni SpA (ENI.MI) added 2.5%.

Other stock movers: Shares of International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG.LN)(IAG.LN) jumped 5.5% after the British Airways and Iberia parent said operating profit got a boost from lower fuel prices in the first quarter (

Also in the airline industry, budget carrier easyJet PLC (EZJ.LN) gained 4.2% after reporting a 12% rise in passenger traffic for April.

See:European airlines take off after upbeat IAG, easyJet numbers (

Pearson PLC (PSON.LN) (PSON.LN) surged 12.4% after the publishing company reported a rise in quarterly sales ( and confirmed its full-year outlook.

Vestas Wind Systems AS (VWS.KO) climbed 5.1%. The Danish wind-turbine manufacturer beat earnings forecasts ( after a quarter of strong sales in the U.S., Germany and China.

Struggling Italian lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA (BMPS.MI) said late Thursday it swung to a loss in the first quarter (, hurt by declining revenue and one-time costs. Its shares are still halted after the company had to ask the Italian government for a bailout in December.

Economic news: The widely watched U.S. jobs report showed a bigger-than-expected 211,000 new hires in April (, keeping alive expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again in June.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 05, 2017 12:22 ET (16:22 GMT)