World stocks hit fresh record highs, with investors' relief at centrist Emmanuel Macron's victory in the first round of the French presidential election supported by speculation about U.S. tax reform. As Ivor Bennett reports, investors see little risk of anti-euro Marine Le Pen scoring a surprise victory in the final vote.
After leaving his apartment this morning, it took Emmanuel Macron all of 7 seconds to hit the campaign trail. He may have won the first-round, but he knows the election's not over yet. France will decide if he's to be their next President in just under two weeks. But with world stocks hitting record highs, it seems markets think they know the result already. SOUNDBITE (English) CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, IG, SAYING: "French pollsters have a very good record in predicting the election. They currently predict a very healthy lead for Macron but of course no one wants to be the one person that says yes it's definitely going to happen." The Dax seems pretty convinced - hitting yet another record high While the gap between French and German bonds - that barometer of political risk - is at it's smallest since November. Even though, if Macron does get in, he's still got other elections to worry about. SOUNDBITE (English) CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, IG, SAYING: "Of course you've got the election into June, the parliamentary elections, which could of course provide a little bit more excitement and might make life difficult for him. But of course I think really we are seeing a general improvement in risk appetite across the board." Polls predict a bloodbath for Marine Le Pen. Fitting you might say that she chose a butchers' market as a campaign stop. Given the forecasts, it's thought the ECB could be sharpening cutting tools of its own. SOUNDBITE (English) CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, IG, SAYING: "I think this week might be too early to see them signal a sea-change in policy. But you may get a few subtle hints from Mario Draghi that the bank is looking at potential ways of maybe winding down some of its QE." Nothing subtle about the market's moves though. Their mind is already made up.