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PIG TODAY-French stocks rise ahead of European peers despite election worries

French stocks rose Thursday, performing better than broader European equities, as gains for Publicis Groupe SA and Pernod Ricard SA helped relieve pressure from concerns over the outcome of Sunday’s presidential election vote.

In Paris, the CAC 40 PX1, +0.92% moved up 0.5% to 5,029.68. That was better than the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, +0.17% which trudged up 0.1% and has been slipping between small gains and losses. The pan-European index was held back by losses in the commodity sector, but consumer goods and financial shares were rising.

Investors were sifting through a new batch of earnings reports Thursday. PublicisPUB, +2.74%  was among the top share-price performers on the back of its financial results. Shares popped up 2.4%, on track for their best session since December, after the advertising heavyweight posted a smaller-than-expected decline in first-quarter sales.

At the same time, shares of French spirits group Pernod Ricard RI, +2.07%   climbed 1.6%. The producer of Absolut vodka and Martell cognac posted a 1% rise in third-quarter underlying sales.

A win for the CAC 40 on Thursday would be its second in a row, coming after five straight sessions of losses.

French stocks have been under pressure on worries about the outcome of Sunday’s first round of voting in the country’s presidential election. Recent polling suggests a tight contest between the four main candidates, raising worries that the final two contenders going through to the second round of voting could be two euroskeptics: far-left politician Jean-Luc Melenchon and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

“With four candidates polling around 20%, there is every reason for caution, the event of a Le Pen-Melenchon runoff  would spark a big selloff in the euro and French government bonds, as well as bank stocks"

Source: efxnews.com

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