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Stocks in Asia followed their European and US counterparts higher as a wave of relief swept through markets following the first round of voting in the French presidential election.

French stocks roared 4.1 per cent higher – led by the banks – as investors warmed to the likelihood that Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate, will pip Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader, in France’s presidential election, which is slated for May 7.

Japan’s Topix was up 0.5 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 0.4 per cent higher.

China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.1 per cent, having fallen on Monday by the most since early December to exacerbate a sharp decline over the past fortnight. The tech-focused Shenzhen Composite bounced 0.2 per cent.

The Australian and New Zealand stock markets were closed for public holidays.

In the US, the lift in global sentiment helped the S&P 500 close 1.1 per cent higher yesterday.

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