USA and global stocks rally after French election

Posted April 25, 2017

Warnings against the dangers of globalization and terrorism and efforts to portray rival Emmanuel Macron as the establishment candidate will be at the heart of Marine Le Pen's campaign for the May 7 French election runoff.

Sylvain Crepon, an FN specialist at Tours university, says Le Pen can not bridge the gap with Macron this time, but pressing those themes is vital for the party's future and its role in the reorganizing of a political landscape shaken by a campaign that has seen both the major left-wing and right-wing parties tumble. Le Pen is one of the candidates who campaigned against the European Union, but many investors expect Macron ultimately to be victorious.

TRIOMPHE: Coming into Sunday's presidential election in France, several candidates railed against the European Union, one of the world's dominant trading partners.

Investors globally had been fearful that a wave of populism, which swept US President Donald Trump into the White House and saw Britain vote to leave the EU, could lead to a win for the anti-European Le Pen and put the future of the bloc in doubt.

Voters narrowed the French presidential field from 11 to two in Sunday's first-round vote, and losers from across the spectrum called on their supporters to choose Macron in round two.

European Union spokesman Margaritis Schinas said that "the choice was a fundamental one". True, polls and prognosticators failed to predict Britain's vote to leave the European Union, or the US presidential victory of Donald Trump. "The first round election result was very much in line with earlier poll results", Margaret Yang Yan, market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore, said in a commentary. It is because of these unexpected shocks to the political status quo that many analysts are wary of prematurely writing off Le Pen. Voters rejected the ruling Socialists but also Mr. Fillon of the center-right Republicans.

Melenchon got 19.64 percent on Sunday and, though a fervent opponent of Le Pen for years, he has so far refused to say who he will back in the runoff. In the end, she gained neither: In the second round of those contests, the "Republican Front" united against her, the right and the left, and the National Front failed to gain a single region.

Mr Macron collected 8.66 million votes, or 24.01 per cent, while Ms Le Pen garnered 7.68 million votes, or 21.30 per cent, according to the official final count published by the Interior Ministry.

But at polling places Sunday in Paris, voter after voter expressed fear of a Le Pen victory, even if there was no great enthusiasm for the youthful, untested Macron.

Meyer Habib, a Jewish parliamentarian from the center-right UDI party, used the occasion of Yom HaShoah on Monday to urge a strong turnout against Le Pen. "In that case, the National Front and the far-left would become full-size players", Gurfinkiel said.

"It's not only France" where the forces of populism seem to be waning, said Luca Paolini, chief strategist at Pictet Asset Management, a United Kingdom -based firm that manages $165 billion in client assets.

"I'm not convinced that the French are willing to sign a blank check to Mr. Macron", he said.