European stock markets gave up some recent gains Monday after Emmanuel Macron comfortably won the French presidential election. Over the past couple of weeks, European stocks, particularly French ones, had been buoyant on expectations of a Macron victory over the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, the CAC 40 index in Paris was down 0.9 percent at 5,385 while Germany’s DAX fell 0.3 percent to 12,685. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares bucked the trend, trading 0.1 percent higher at 7,307. Wall Street was poised for a lower opening, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.1 percent.
MACRON WIN: When Macron topped the first round of voting in the French presidential election two weeks ago, French stocks soared to near-decade highs. On Monday, the reaction to his clear victory in the runoff was subdued: investors had been fully expecting it and seem wary of the difficulties he’ll face governing a divided country. The clear bias in favor of Macron in the markets over Le Pen rests on a number of factors, above all his views on Europe. Macron is a keen advocate of the European Union and the euro currency, while Le Pen has proposed taking France out of both.
ANALYST TAKE: “It’s been a lively start to trading on Monday, with the initial relief rally following Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French election quickly fizzling out as the euro and European stock markets reversed gains to trade lower on the day,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA. “What we’re seeing this morning is a classic case of the rumor — or the expected result in this case — being bought and the fact being sold.”
EURO REACTION: After initially rallying to six-month highs above $1.10 in the wake of the Macron result, the euro faltered and was trading 0.5 percent lower at $1.0945.
ASIA’S DAY: Earlier, Asian stock markets, which were the first to respond to the Macron win, rallied. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 2.3 percent to finish at 19,895.70 and South Korea’s Kospi index hit a record high ahead of a presidential election Tuesday, gaining 2.3 percent to 2,292.76. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 percent to 5,870.90 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.3 percent to 24,547.98. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.8 percent to 3,078.61 on weaker than expected trade data for April. In currency markets, the dollar was down 0.1 percent at 112.59 yen.
ENERGY: Benchmark New York crude was steady at $46.22 a barrel while Brent, the international standard, fell 0.1 percent to $49.06 a barrel.