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French election debate lifts euro but markets wary

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 01:38

The euro hits a six-week high and French bonds and stocks rally as centrist Emmanuel Macron solidifies his status as the frontrunner in France's presidential election after a strong performance in a televised debate. But as Ivor Bennett reports, markets are not betting against a shock result yet.

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The polls gave him reason to smile before the debate. And they will have done after as well. A snap survey suggesting frontrunner Emmanuel Macron was the most convincing in the first televised debate of the French Presidential election. His performance sent the euro to a six-week high. But many are still urging caution. SOUNDBITE (English) RICHARD HUNTER, HEAD OF RESEARCH, WILSON KING INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, SAYING: "Markets certainly aren't getting complacent because of course as we saw all too clearly last year, with Trump and Brexit, we won't know the actual result until the actual result." That's because many voters are still undecided Polls suggest it's as many as 40 percent. (SOUNDBITE) (French) PASSER-BY, SEBASTIEN, SAYING: "Well, it was a bit... There wasn't enough time for them to speak. They mostly reeled off there programmes without allowing for real confrontation of ideas." (SOUNDBITE) (French) PASSER-BY, PATRICIA, SAYING: "It hasn't changed the way I vote. In fact I won't be voting. I got my electoral card and I think it will be useless to me, I will abstain." Macron's main rival is far-right leader Marine Le Pen. They clashed on immigration and Europe. But there were no knockout blows. Le Pen still forecast to win the first round of voting. Her opposition to the EU has made markets nervous, even if polls suggest she'd struggle to win a run-off. SOUNDBITE (English) RICHARD HUNTER, HEAD OF RESEARCH, WILSON KING INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, SAYING: "I think what markets are after in terms of European elections generally are maintenance of the status quo. What they don't want is anything that might resemble either populism or protectionism." What voters want is still unclear though. There are two more debates to help them decide.

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French election debate lifts euro but markets wary

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 01:38