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Rare is the election outcome that immediately bolsters both markets and economic nationalists, but the first round of the French vote has done just that.

Independent centrist Emmanuel Macron will go head-to-head against far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the run-off election to become France’s next president, setting the stage for two weeks of highly charged campaigning as the two sides champion diametrically opposed visions of the country’s future.

Mr Macron came out on top with 23.7 per cent of the vote ahead of Ms Le Pen’s 21.7 per cent, according to three estimates for French media based on partial results. The Le Pen faithful are celebrating their candidate’s success as the first step to “saving France”, but the euro is surging on the prospect of Mr Macron’s chances, having firmed 1.4 per cent against the dollar to $1.0877.

In Asia Pacific equities, futures tip Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng to open flat, while in Tokyo the Topix is expected to open down 0.1 per cent when trading begins.

Corporate earnings reports out today include Hutchison Port, Reliance Industries, JSR Corp, Manila Electric, Kokuyo, Baotailong New Materials and Kabucom.

The economic calendar for Monday is a delicate balance (all times Hong Kong):

  • 08.30: Taiwan unemployment rate
  • 11.30: Thailand customs-based imports, exports and trade balance
  • 13.00: Singapore consumer inflation
  • 16.00: Taiwan industrial production
  • Vietnam consumer inflation and Macau visitor arrivals are also expected out today.

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