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US stocks follow global markets higher after French election

U.S. stocks joined a worldwide rally Monday morning after election results in France over the weekend raised expectations that the European Union and euro currency will remain intact. A candidate seen as pro-business won the most votes in Sunday’s vote, and many investors expect him to win a runoff election against the remaining anti-EU candidate, which is set for May 7.

Prices for gold, Treasurys and other investments that signal fear in the market all sank, while the euro’s value surged against the dollar.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index jumped 26 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,374 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 230 points, or 1.1 percent, to 20,778, and the Nasdaq composite surged 72 points, or 1.2 percent, to 5,983.

TRIOMPHE: Coming into Sunday’s presidential election in France, several candidates railed against the European Union, one of the world’s dominant trading partners. A victory for one of those candidates would have followed the path set by last year’s vote in the United Kingdom to exit the European Union and the U.S. election of President Donald Trump as a kick in the face to the globalist, free-trade worldview.

Emmanuel Macron, a candidate investors see as pro-business and friendly to the concept of the European Union, won the most votes in Sunday’s election. He will face Marine Le Pen in a runoff election in two weeks. Le Pen is one of the candidates who is against the European Union, but many investors expect Macron ultimately to be victorious.

EUROPE RIDING HIGH: France’s CAC 40 index surged 4.1 percent, while Germany’s DAX jumped 3 percent and the FTSE 100 in London rose 1.8 percent.

Asian markets also rose. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index climbed 1.4 percent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and South Korea’s Kospi indexes both added 0.4 percent.

FEELS CALM: Many investors see the Vix index as a measure of the market’s anxiety level because it shows how expensive prices are to buy protection against upcoming drops in stocks. The Vix plunged 19.5 percent.

Other investments that investors flock to when fearful also saw demand disappear. The price of gold fell $17.10, or 1.3 percent, to $1272.00 per ounce.

Prices for Treasury bonds also dropped, which sent yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed to 2.29 percent from 2.25 percent late Friday. Yields for two- and 30-year Treasurys also climbed.

EURO RISING: With expectations strengthening that the shared European economy will remain intact, the euro rose to $1.0871 from $1.0695 late Friday.

The dollar climbed to 110.14 Japanese yen from 109.21, and the British pound climbed to $1.2795 from $1.2775.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 23 cents to $49.39 per barrel. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, fell 25 cents to $51.71 per barrel.

Natural gas fell 5 cents to $3.04 per 1,000 cubic feet, silver fell 13 cents to $17.73 per ounce and copper held steady at $2.54 per pound.

CHINA BLUES: Chinese stocks didn’t join the global wave higher on Monday. Benchmarks in Shanghai and Shenzhen fell by more than 1 percent in their worst losses in four months after regulators warned over the weekend of risks in the financial industry. The Chinese Insurance Regulatory Commission, in a notice carried by the state-run Xinhua News Agency, ordered insurers to improve risk controls amid a crackdown on misuse of capital.

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