Forget Frexit: Stocks Surge on French Election Results
Business + Economy

Forget Frexit: Stocks Surge on French Election Results

Philippe Wojazer

The Nasdaq hit a record high on Monday, with other indexes also rallying, as investors breathed a sigh of relief after Centrist candidate and market favorite Emmanuel Macron won the first round of the French election.

Polls showed pro-EU Macron is expected to beat right-wing rival Marine Le Pen in a deciding vote on May 7, quelling some fears of a breakup of the Eurozone after Britain's shock exit vote last year.

"The markets are in a strong rebound as the expectations of the first round of the French elections results were pleasing," Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial wrote in a note.

The rally on Wall Street was broad-based, with all of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors trading higher, led by a 2 percent surge in the financial index <.spsy> as big U.S. banks rose.

The three major indexes notched gains of more than 1 percent.

At 9:34 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.dji> was up 209.6 points, or 1.02 percent, at 20,757.36, the S&P 500 <.spx> was up 25.3 points, or 1.1 percent, at 2,373.99 and the Nasdaq Composite <.ixic> was up 67.49 points, or 1.14 percent, at 5,978.02.

U.S. investors are also gearing up for the busiest earnings week in at least a decade, with over 190 S&P 500 members, including heavyweights Alphabet and Microsoft due to report results.

Overall profit for S&P 500 companies is estimated to have risen 11.2 percent in the first quarter, compared with the 10.1 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Prices of safe-haven gold dropped nearly 1 percent, while the CBOE Volatility index <.vix> tumbled nearly 19 percent.

Hasbro surged 6.3 percent after the toymaker reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

Medical device maker C R Bard jumped more than 19 percent to $302 after U.S. medical equipment supplier Becton Dickinson said it would buy Bard for $24 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,298 to 367. On the Nasdaq, 2,054 issues rose and 359 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 62 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 123 new highs and six new lows.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)