Risk On! French election Round 1 results ignite bulls

For now, worried traders breath sigh of relief, as Dow soars over 200 points Monday in powerful rally with other averages. But crude oil fails to cooperate.

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The bull looks set to go after the bear at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany. (Image via Wikipedia entry on market trends, GNU 1.2 license)

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2017 – Democrats aside, happy days are here again for Wall Street’s previously hibernating bulls. That’s because Round 1 of Sunday’s French Presidential election is over, and the May 7 finale will not pit a Communist candidate vs. an alleged extreme right winger.


Read also: Macron, Le Pen win Round 1 of French Presidential contest


Winners of Round 1 include “moderate” Emmanuel Macron, who, to this columnist at least, appears in most ways to be a pro-Eurozone centrist.

Macron’s opponent, as expected, is toned-down but still right-wing firebrand Marine Le Pen who vows to put together a “Frexit” from the EU as well as the euro, favoring Gaullist-style nationalism, a return to the French franc and a second Frexit, this time from active cooperation with NATO. Worse, Le Pen allegedly a right-winger, favors something of a marital separation from the Western alliance in favor of cuddling up with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sound familiar?

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, Round 1 winners in French Presidential Election 2017. (Images via Wikipedia entry on 2017 French Presidential election, Creative Commons licensed, altered by the author to create single graphic image)

French pollsters and pundits are already preparing for a YUGE Round 2 win by Macron. But how easily the Establishment seems to forget what happened to similar prognostications that breezily predicted landslide defeats for both the Brexit and the Presidential candidacy of Donald Trump.

In any event, as far as always short attention span traders and investors are concerned, it’s off to the races as the bulls attempt, at least short-term, to revive the nearly moribund Trump Rally in Monday trading action.

As of 3 p.m., an hour from Monday’s close, the Dow Jones Industrials are up a whopping 233.09 points, with the S&P 500 notching a 25.98 point gain and the tech-heavy NASDAQ was up an even more impressive 72.56 points. All three averages are currently ahead by roughly 1.25 percent.


Read also: Trading Diary: Defensive action during bull move in stocks


There’s no guarantee that this bull move will have follow-through, and the big numbers being posted aren’t causing all boats to rise. While the “risk-on” trade has resumed, at least for the moment, many newly-bullish investors are raising cash for more aggressive buys by dumping bonds and bond proxies like utilities, REITs and MLPs.

Part of today’s positive action might also involve short-squeezes in various issues, as short sellers are fleeing certain previously-perceived risky sectors rather than lose a bucket of money should these stocks and sectors continue to rise on the basis of improved investor optimism.

It’s tough to reposition in today’s bullish environment, as chasing particularly huge gainers has a tendency to backfire on the smaller investor since such emotional gains often will not hold.

Also problematic: Oil continued to show weakness on Monday, with indications, once again, that the world is in a potentially price-crushing surplus of black gold, at least for now.

Nonetheless, after the grim, sideways-to-down grind of the last month or so, it’s nice to see the bulls indulging in rational exuberance once again, if only for a day.

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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17