Wait, did Emmanuel Macron win or lose reelection?
You’d be hard-pressed looking at markets to figure out the winner of the French presidential race. The incumbent tech-backed centrist easily won another five-year term over his far-right challenger, and the euro
falls, and French CAC 40
skids over 2%.
Of course it’s not Macron locking down Beijing or putting a 50-basis-point U.S. interest-rate hike on the table. And here’s what analysts are saying about Macron’s victory and what it means, or not, for financial markets.
Philippe Gudin, chief European economst at Barclays, called the victory “Macron 2.0.”
“This result removes the risk of an institutional crisis at the national and EU level,” he said. “Meanwhile, the re-election of a president with a business-friendly agenda should be supportive for markets. However, opposition parties will argue that he was re-elected as a default choice and has low support in public opinion.”
Much will depend on the June parliamentary elections, where Gudin said there is a significant risk of a hung parliament.
UBS economist Dean Turner agreed. “It is hard to know if the collapse in support for the traditional parties in the presidential vote will be repeated to the same extent in June. Some political realignment is expected, all signs point toward legislating proving more challenging for Macron in his second term.”
There’s also the question of who will be his prime minister, with one candidate being European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, though other figures including Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne and Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie have been mentioned as possible prime ministers .
Strategists at JPMorgan said Macron’s plans to further reform the labor market and the unemployment insurance system, as well as increasing the retirement age, were the more friendly market outcome. Banks including BNP Paribas
and Societe Generale
avoid a widening of credit spreads that would’ve been seen if Le Pen had won, and infrastructure plays avoid a nationalization of French toll roads.
Macron plans to cut household taxes, and a plan to renovate 700,000 homes a year to help cut energy consumption could benefit do-it-yourself retailers.
The optimistic take came from Sean Darby at Jefferies, who lifted his view on French stocks to bullish. “The bourse and the euro should take the convincing result well. Despite the higher cost of living and the spillover effects from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the underlying services recovery bodes well for the French economy and the stock market,” he said. He added investors should concentrate on the reopening of the economy that is boosting the services sector and giving a surprise lift to construction.
“The recent pull-back in share prices has left the market on an attractive valuation and appears inexpensive versus government bonds,” said Darby.