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With 95 per cent of votes counted from Wednesday’s election in the Netherlands, the country’s populist challenger Geert Wilders appears set to come up short.

Though on course to lose eight seats, Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD party is still set to hold 33 against the 20 of Mr Wilders’ PVV, according to state broadcaster NOS, with turnout reported at more than 80 per cent. The Dutch parliament has 150 seats in total.

The Dutch vote is the first of three European elections in which populist politicians have emerged as significant contenders. Analysts had predicted that a strong showing for Mr Wilders would bolster the campaigns of Marine Le Pen, National Front leader, in France and, in Germany, the insurgent Alternative for Germany party.

Sovereign bonds and crude oil prices rallied in Asia on Thursday, as the dollar weakened following the US Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates.

Regional equities were mixed, largely failing to match the previous day’s gains on Wall Street. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2 per cent headed into the close, while Tokyo’s Topix index had pared midday gains to be flat. The big winner was Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which was up 1.5 per cent.

Futures tip the FTSE 100 to rise 0.5 per cent at the open in London, while the S&P 500 is expected to climb 0.2 per cent when trading starts in New York.

Corporate earnings reports out today include Lufthansa, Generali, Sainsbury and Oxford Biomedica.

The economic calendar for Thursday is just about fed up with all these interest rates decisions (all times London):

  • 07.00: Eurozone new passenger car registrations
  • 08.30: Sweden unemployment rate
  • 09.00: Norway’s Norges Bank interest rates decision
  • 10.00: Eurozone consumer price inflation (second reading)
  • 11.00: Turkey interest rates decision
  • 12.00: Bank of England interest rates decision, QE target, meeting minutes

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