April 24, 2017 / 1:59 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St surges, Nasdaq hits record on French vote result

3 Min Read

* Macron, Le Pen to face off on May 7 in final vote

* Financial stocks lead broad-based rally on S&P

* VIX, gold prices tumble as risk-on sentiment returns

* Indexes up: Dow 1.02 pct, S&P 1.1 pct, Nasdaq 1.14 pct (Updates to open)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

April 24 (Reuters) - The Nasdaq hit a record high on Monday, with other indexes also rallying, as investors breathed a sigh of relief after Centrist candidate and market favorite Emmanuel Macron won the first round of the French election.

Polls showed pro-EU Macron is expected to beat right-wing rival Marine Le Pen in a deciding vote on May 7, quelling some fears of a breakup of the Eurozone after Britain's shock exit vote last year.

"The markets are in a strong rebound as the expectations of the first round of the French elections results were pleasing," Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial wrote in a note.

The rally on Wall Street was broad-based, with all of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors trading higher, led by a 2 percent surge in the financial index as big U.S. banks rose.

The three major indexes notched gains of more than 1 percent.

At 9:34 a.m. ET (1334 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 209.6 points, or 1.02 percent, at 20,757.36, the S&P 500 was up 25.3 points, or 1.1 percent, at 2,373.99 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 67.49 points, or 1.14 percent, at 5,978.02.

U.S. investors are also gearing up for the busiest earnings week in at least a decade, with over 190 S&P 500 members, including heavyweights Alphabet and Microsoft due to report results.

Overall profit for S&P 500 companies is estimated to have risen 11.2 percent in the first quarter, compared with the 10.1 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Prices of safe-haven gold dropped nearly 1 percent, while the CBOE Volatility index tumbled nearly 19 percent.

Hasbro surged 6.3 percent after the toymaker reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

Medical device maker C R Bard jumped more than 19 percent to $302 after U.S. medical equipment supplier Becton Dickinson said it would buy Bard for $24 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,298 to 367. On the Nasdaq, 2,054 issues rose and 359 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 62 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 123 new highs and six new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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