Financial markets higher after French centrist Macron comes out on top
Investors optimistic that populist politics may have plateaued
North American stock indexes surged in what was described as a relief rally following the first round of France's presidential elections.
Emmanuel Macron, seen as pro-business and friendly to the concept of the European Union, won the most votes Sunday and is seen as the leading contender in a runoff election in which he will face anti-EU opponent Marine Le Pen in two weeks.
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The S&P/TSX composite index gained 97.98 points to close at 15,712.46.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 216.13 points to 20,763.89, while the S&P 500 index added 25.46 points to end at 2,374.15. The Nasdaq composite index gained 73.30 points to 5,983.82, a record high.
Markets hope populism has plateaued
Coming into Sunday's presidential election in France, several candidates railed against the European Union, one of the world's dominant trading partners. A victory for one of those candidates would have followed the path set by last year's vote in the United Kingdom to exit the European Union and the U.S. election of President Donald Trump as a kick in the face to the globalist, free-trade worldview.
Emmanuel Macron, a candidate investors see as pro-business and friendly to the concept of the European Union, won the most votes in Sunday's election. He will face Marine Le Pen in a runoff election in two weeks. Le Pen is one of the candidates who is against the European Union, but many investors expect Macron ultimately to be victorious.
Investors watch for Trump's tax plans
Though the second run of the French election will remain in the spotlight, there's likely to be investor interest also in upcoming tax proposals from the Trump administration. However, investors aren't expecting too much from Wednesday's anticipated announcement following the recent reverse on repealing the Affordable Care Act. "Markets have received this news with a big pinch of salt," said FXTM Research Analyst Lukman Otunuga.
France's CAC 40 index surged 4.1 per cent, while Germany's DAX jumped 3 per cent and the FTSE 100 in London rose 1.8 per cent.
Asian markets also rose. Japan's Nikkei 225 index climbed 1.4 per cent, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng and South Korea's Kospi indexes both added 0.4 per cent.
With files from The Canadian Press