Business World

Sunday 18 February 2018

European markets up on France hopes

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The euro and stocks on major markets recovered yesterday as a market-friendly presidential candidate held the lead ahead of Sunday's first-round election in France, while the yen and US Treasury prices weakened.

Former French finance minister Emmanuel Macron remained on top of the polls, but the election is still a four-way battle in the first round on April 23.

Should Macron rank first or second in Sunday's poll, he is seen easily winning the run-off vote on May 7 after remaining candidates are eliminated.

However, after surprises in last year's US election and the UK Brexit referendum, voter indecision and low turnout could catch markets wrong-footed yet again.

On Wall Street, stocks rose as traders continued to bet on a strong earnings reporting season. Profits at S&P 500 index companies are estimated to have risen 11.1pc in the first quarter.

"As we see a steady stream of earnings, on balance the season has been better and that's helping the market today," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index ended the session 0.24pc higher at 6,717.56.

Shares in CRH rose, gaining 1.1pc to €31.88. Glanbia also advanced, rising 2.1pc to €19.30.

Travel software firm Datalex shed 3.6pc to €3.71, while Kerry Group was down 1.1pc at €77.00.

The UK's FTSE-100 was was flat as was Germany's DAX. But France's CAC-40 jumped nearly 1.5pc, easing slightly from earlier in the day in what had been its best daily performance since March 1.

Unilever helped drive European benchmarks, after it posted strong first-quarter sales.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Irish Independent

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