European stocks had a huge day as investors become increasingly confident of a Macron victory

LONDON — Stocks across continental Europe had a huge day as investors become increasingly confident that Emmanuel Macron will take victory in Sunday’s second round of the French presidential election.

Several individual bourses ended the day more than 1% higher on Thursday, while one — Italy’s FTSE MIB — closed with gains of in excess of 2%, as a combination of confidence in Macron, strong earnings, and better than expected PMI data gave investors reason to be cheerful.

“Generally well-received large cap earnings led the way in European equities, where political risk was priced out further in the run-up to the French election. A confident display from market-favourite Emmanuel Macron in Wednesday evening’s French presidential debates makes the odds seemingly impassable for Marine Le Pen,” Jasper Lawler, senior market analyst at London Capital Group wrote in an email.

Of the continent’s three most important bourses, Germany’s DAX closed 0.84% higher, France’s CAC 40 gained 1.3%, and Italy’s FTSE MIB finished 2% up. The DAX hit an all-time intraday high of 12,646 points during trade.

Here is the scoreboard:

“Aside from politics, economic fundamentals are gaining in importance as drivers of asset prices. The Eurozone economy remains the global bright spot, with its service sector PMI rising to its highest ever level,” Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index said.

When it comes to PMIs, on a country-by-country basis, Italy’s services sector had a huge month, hitting its highest level since the start of the financial crisis.

“Business activity in Italy’s service sector increased at the fastest rate for almost a decade in April. The strong growth was driven by rising demand, which also led to the creation of more jobs as capacity pressures intensified,” a statement from IHS Markit, which compiles the surveys, said.

In Britain, things were a little less positive, with the FTSE 100 held back by mining companies, which were pulled lower by tumbling metal prices on the day. That offset big gains from HSBC, which saw its stock pop after a strong set of Q1 results.

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