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Asia stocks buoyed by French vote relief

Tuesday 02:20 BST

Overview

Stocks in Asia followed their European and US counterparts higher as a wave of relief swept through markets following the first round of voting in the French presidential election.

Hot topic

The euro eased 0.1 per cent to $1.0858, having ended 1.3 per cent higher the previous day. The yield on 10-year French government bonds tumbled 11 basis points to 0.82 per cent, prompting declines in other eurozone bond markets such as Spain, Italy and Germany. Yields move inversely to prices.

The single currency on Monday touched its highest in five months, and French stocks jumped 4.1 per cent, led by banks, as investors welcomed the likelihood that Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate, will defeat Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader, in France’s presidential run-off slated for May 7.

Equities

Japan’s Topix was up 0.5 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 0.4 per cent higher.

In China the Shanghai Composite was down 0.1 per cent, having fallen on Monday by the most since early December to extend a decline over the past fortnight. The tech-focused Shenzhen Composite bounced 0.2 per cent.

Markets in Australia and New Zealand were closed for a public holiday.

In the US, the brightening in global sentiment helped the S&P 500 close 1.1 per cent higher on Monday.

Forex

The yen weakened 0.1 per cent to ¥109.92 per US dollar, after a 0.6 per cent drop the previous session. The yen was the worst-performing major currency against the euro on Monday as the outcome of the French vote damped investors’ appetite for haven assets.

The dollar index, a measure of the US currency against a basket of global peers, was fractionally higher in Asia at 99.135.

The Australian dollar slipped 0.1 per cent to $0.7561 in low trading volumes.

Commodities

Oil prices were on pace for their biggest advance in a fortnight. Prices suffered last week after data showed an unexpected rise in US weekly gasoline inventories.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, was up 0.5 per cent at $51.88 a barrel in Asia, while West Texas Intermediate gained 0.5 per cent to $49.48.

Gold was down 0.2 per cent at $1,274.40 an ounce, with sellers continuing to emerge as global market sentiment improved.

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