The European markets remain upbeat after Sunday night’s vote which has left centrist Emmanuel Macron to fight Marine Le Pen for the presidency of France. Once again, banking stocks are some of the biggest gainers on hopes Macron will win after the latest poll pointing towards a victory for the former economy minister.
Meanwhile France’s richest man, billionaire Bernard Arnault, the boss of LVMH, which runs Louis Vuitton and Moet champagne is set to pay 6.5bn euros for Dior’s high-end fashion line. Both companies gained in value on the back of the news.
French news dominates today after a business report showed calm ahead of the elections, with sentiment stable at 104 in April. With French factories reporting their best confidence levels since the eurozone crisis hit in June 2011. And Credit Agricole is in talks with the Bank of Italy to acquire three Italian banks. If completed, the acquisitions would expand Credit Agricole’s customer base by a combined 20%.
Meanwhile in Britain Sterling remained solid after official data show that the UK’s deficit has fallen to its lowest level since the financial crisis. The UK borrowed £52bn in the 2016-17 financial year, slightly above the £51.7bn predicted in last month’s budget, but around £20bn or 28% lower than the previous year.