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The euro has surged in Asian trading on Monday as opinion polls showed investors’ preferred candidate was likely to defeat his far-right rival in the second round of France’s presidential elections.

Emmanuel Macron, a centrist who supports open markets and France staying in the EU, took 23.8 per cent of Sunday’s first-round vote ahead of Marine Le Pen on 21.7 per cent, according to French interior ministry figures based on 94 per cent of votes counted.

Markets expect that Mr Macron will come out clearly ahead of Ms Le Pen in the second-round vote. A snap poll from Ipsos on Sunday showed 62 per cent support for Mr Macron and 38 per cent for Ms Le Pen.

The euro jumped two full cents against the US dollar as the results were confirmed, pushing above $1.09 for the first time in five months and making similarly sized gains against other major currencies including the Japanese yen and the UK pound.

Asia Pacific equities have pulled back from earlier gains in the wake of the French vote, with the S&P/ASX 200 index in Sydney up 0.2 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up just 0.1 per cent. But with the yen 1.1 per cent softer against the dollar, Tokyo’s Topix is up by the same amount in afternoon trading.

Futures tip the FTSE 100 to open up 0.6 per cent in London, while the S&P 500 is expected to climb 0.8 per cent when trading begins in New York.

Corporate earnings reports out today include Petra Diamonds, while the economic calendar is relatively light (all times London):

  • 09.00: Germany IFO business climate and expectations
  • 11.00: UK CBI industrial orders
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