(Updates with European shares' close)
* Wall Street boosted by earnings
* Euro shorts close positions, traders say
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, April 20 The euro and stocks on major
markets recovered on Thursday as a market-friendly presidential
candidate held the lead ahead of Sunday's first-round election
in France, while the yen and U.S. Treasury debt prices weakened.
Former French finance minister, Emmanuel Macron, remained
atop the polls for Sunday's French vote, but the election is
still a four-way battle in the first round on April 23. Should
Macron rank first or second in Sunday's poll, he is seen easily
winning the runoff vote on May 7 after remaining candidates are
However, after surprises in last year's U.S. election and
the UK Brexit referendum, voter indecision and low turnout could
catch markets wrong-footed yet again.
France's CAC stock index jumped 1.5 percent, its
strongest daily performance since March 1.
On Wall Street, stocks rose as traders continued to bet on a
strong earnings reporting season. Profit expectations have risen
in the last two weeks and S&P 500 company earnings now are
expected to have gained 11.1 percent in the first quarter.
"They really are just focusing now on the micro, which they
should be, on the earnings and what the earnings are saying,"
said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O’Neil
Securities in New York.
"Investors are putting the geopolitical stuff to the back of
the bus at the moment and they are really focusing on what they
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 198.03
points, or 0.97 percent, to 20,602.52, the S&P 500 had
gained 20.45 points, or 0.87 percent, to 2,358.62 and the Nasdaq
Composite had added 58.02 points, or 0.99 percent, to
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended up
0.2 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe
gained 0.62 percent.
Emerging market stocks rose 0.55 percent.
Currency traders said short-term players were closing out
positions taken in anticipation of euro weakness before the
French election, emboldened by the steady stream of polls
confirming that centrist Macron would lead returns on Sunday.
"Short euro is still one of the larger positions out there.
No risk on the table means take some of that off," said BMO
strategist Stephen Gallo.
"(But) there is still no fundamental reason for the euro to
be rising here."
The U.S. dollar index rose 0.04 percent, with the
euro up 0.1 percent to $1.072.
The Japanese yen weakened 0.39 percent versus the greenback
at 109.31 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at
$1.2809, up 0.25 percent on the day.
Oil prices fell further after Wednesday's steep losses, with
rising U.S. production weighing against comments from leading
Gulf oil producers that an extension to OPEC-led supply cuts was
U.S. crude fell 0.22 percent to $50.74 per barrel
and Brent was last at $53.02, up 0.17 percent on the
U.S. Treasury yields rose as investors waited on the results
from the French election, after the 10-year yield earlier failed
to break below key technical resistance at 2.19 percent.
Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 10/32 in price
to yield 2.2356 percent, from 2.202 percent late on Wednesday.
Spot gold added 0.1 percent to $1,280.66 an ounce.
U.S. gold futures fell 0.05 percent to $1,282.70 an
Copper rose 1.43 percent to $5,635.50 a tonne.
(Additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch, Chuck
Mikolajczak and Karen Brettell in New York, Tanya Agrawal in
Bengaluru, Libby George and Patrick Graham in London; Editing by