10 things you need to know before European markets open

Good morning! Here’s what you need to know on Monday.

1. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will contest a run off in the French presidential election after winning the highest percentage of votes in the first round. With 100% of votes counted Macron is seen to have gained 23.8% of the vote compared to 21.5% for Le Pen.

2. Far left candidate Jean Luc Melenchon and centre-right Francois Fillon both picked up around 19% of the vote. Benoit Hamon, candidate for the ruling socialist party, won less than 6.4% of total votes.

3. The euro jumped on the news that Macron — seen as the most market friendly candidate — had made it to the second round. As investors breathed a collective sigh of relief, the euro soared 2% to $US1.09395, its highest level since Nov. 10, the day after the results of the U.S. presidential election, as some markets opened in Asia.

4. Elsewhere in markets haven assets slipped on the Macron news. Gold fell nearly 1% on Monday to its weakest in two weeks after centrist Macron led the first round of voting in the French presidential election, boosting stocks and triggering a sell-off of safe-haven bullion.

5. Oil prices recovered ground on Monday following last week’s big losses, driven by expectations that OPEC will extend a pledge to cut output to cover all of 2017, although a relentless rise in U.S. drilling capped gains. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures added 26 cents, or 0.5%, by 0401 GMT (12:01 a.m. ET), but were still below the $US50 mark pierced on Friday at $US49.88 a barrel.

6. Policymakers in China are pushing a bullish message on the world’s second-biggest economy after a solid first quarter, pointing to a slow down in capital outflows and a stable yuan after a selloff last year stoked fears of instability. Speaking at a G20 summit meeting of the world’s top economies in Washington last week, finance minister Xiao Jie said an increasing number of positive signs were seen in the Chinese economy in the first quarter gross domestic product report.

7. Britain’s financial regulator is warning the USA over loosening rules on failing banks. Andrew Bailey, the head of the Financial Conductor Authority told the Financial Times that the USA would lose the confidence of foreign regulators “if it scrapped its system for the orderly handling of collapsing banks.”

8. A Conservative MP and a member of the influential Treasury Select Committee is optimistic about Britain leaving the European Union, even though he actually voted for “remain” in the referendum last June. Chris Philp, MP for Croydon South, told Tory members at a conference in East Croydon on Saturday, which Business Insider attended, that Brexit could lead to better trade opportunities for the nation.

9. The political campaign that led to Britain voting to leave the European Union on June 23 last year, was mainly funded by just five of Britain’s richest businessmen. That is according to the team who put together the annual The Sunday Times Rich List, which lists in order the wealthiest people, those with a net worth of £110 million ($US140.9 million) and over, in the UK as well Europe and the rest of the world.

10. After a brief return to normality the pound has been flipped upside down by politics once again. Just as things looked like they were starting to get back to normal for the British pound, the calling of a general election by the Conservative government has flipped the currency on its head for the second time in less than 10 months.

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