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PARIS, March 2 (Reuters) - European stocks could lose up to a tenth of their value, with banks being particularly hard hit, if far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen won the French election, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, an asset management firm, said on Thursday.
Current opinion polls show Le Pen leading in the first round of the election but then losing to either centrist front-runner Emmanuel Macron or conservative candidate Francois Fillon in the decisive second round.
"On the equity side, the European market could see a drop of as much as 10 percent immediately triggered by uncertainty about what this could mean for the EU, along with a potential wider hit to global markets," said Columbia Threadneedle Investments' global head of equities Mark Burgess.
"Returning, however, to the euro-denominated debt issue, the largest hit will likely be European banks, which could move down by 20-30 percent, having lowered 20 percent in response to Brexit," added Burgess.
Columbia Threadneedle Investments manages around $454 billion worth of assets, according to the company's website. (here)
Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Gareth Jones