French stocks outperformed upbeat European indices following a convincing parliamentary majority for President Emmanuel Macron, while the banks bounced following upgrades and the country’s retail sector recovered from last week’s losses.
France’s blue-chips gained 1% after Mr Macron cemented an overwhelming parliamentary majority further increasing his party’s capacity to push through reforms.
Banks BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and Credit Agricole underpinned gains on the index.
“Markets are celebrating the fact the Macron government has been strengthened by this outcome,” said Vincent Juvyns, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management.
“Planned reforms could enhance the growth potential of the country and reduce the structural deficit, something which would lift French GDP going forward,” he added.
Berenberg chief economist Holger Schmieding said France could become the strongest major economy in Europe in a decade.
He said this would outclass “a Germany that is resting on its laurels and a UK that is impairing its long-term growth prospects by losing [some of] its preferential access to its major market, the EU,” Mr Schmieding said.
Britain yesterday began formal negotiations on leaving the EU.
Eurozone blue-chips rose 1% while the pan-European Stoxx 600 rose 0.8%.
The retail sector, particularly grocers, which were sent into a tailspin on Friday after Amazon’s surprise $13.7bn (€12.2bn) deal to buy Whole Foods, bounced back, partly on hopes of more deal activity in the sector.
Meanwhile, the US dollar and treasury yields moved higher after comments from New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley that reinforced expectations the country’s central bank will continue on its path of tightening monetary policy.
The Fed raised rates last week and said it would begin cutting its holdings of bonds and other securities this year.
The stronger dollar weighed on gold prices, but losses were curbed by uncertainty as talks commenced on the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU.
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