GLOBAL MARKETS-Oil off on supply fears; stocks slip before French election


(Updates to U.S. market close)
    * U.S. crude dips below $50 a barrel for first time since
April 4
    * Stocks slip ahead of French elections
    * Geopolitics dominates week ahead

    By Rodrigo CamposNEW YORK, April 21 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Friday as
oversupply concerns resurfaced, while the euro and stocks
slipped ahead of the first round of the French presidential
election on Sunday.
    U.S. crude futures fell below $50 a barrel for the first
time in more than two weeks on renewed fears that increasing
U.S. production will thwart OPEC's attempts to reduce the global
oil glut. [nL3N1HT1NW]
    Geopolitical worries remain an issue for investors also with
all four leading candidates in the first round of the French
presidential election on Sunday seen with a chance of making the
run-off vote on May 7. Centrist candidate, Emmanuel Macron,
maintained a narrow lead in opinion polls, though a terrorism
incident in Paris on Thursday pushed national security to the
top of the political agenda. [nL8N1HT0KY]
    "After Brexit everyone has to be concerned," said Joe
Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New
Jersey, speaking of the surprise vote last June that resulted in
the UK move to leave the European Union.
    "People are not going to trade if they are nervous nowadays
- there is a little nervousness, a lot of uncertainty, so let's
wait and see."
    The euro <EUR=> ended little changed Friday around $1.0720
but French blue-chip stocks <.FCHI> fell 0.4 percent. The
pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> slipped 0.65 percent to
378.12 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe
<.MIWD00000PUS> shed 0.18 percent to 446.54.
    "So far markets have been pretty sanguine in the face of the
(French) presidential election, which was flagged as one of the
potential banana skins for markets in this year," said
Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst Laith Khalaf.
     Investors were heartened by good euro zone economic news
showing showing businesses activity increased at the fastest
rate in six years as new orders stayed robust.
    The IHS Markit's Flash Composite Purchasing Managers' Index,
seen as a good guide to economic growth, climbed to 56.7 from
March's 56.4, its highest since April 2011. [nL8N1HT1GI]

    On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell
0.15 percent to 20,547.76, the S&P 500 index <.SPX> lost 0.30
percent to 2,348.69 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> slipped
0.11 percent to 5,910.52.
    For the week, the Dow rose 0.5 percent, the S&P 500 gained
0.8 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 1.8 percent in what was the
first weekly gain for the top indexes over the last three weeks.
    A steady stream of strong U.S. corporate earnings through
the week helped to buoy market sentiment.
    Of the 95 companies in the S&P 500 index that have reported
earnings through Friday morning, about 75 percent had topped
expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, above the
average for the past four quarters.
    Overall, profits of S&P 500 index companies are estimated to
have risen 11.2 percent in the quarter, the most since 2011.

    The week ahead has investors concerned not only about the
French elections, but also a possible North Korean nuclear test
and the deadline next Friday for the U.S. to avoid a federal
government shut down. [nL8N1HT3DM]
    The euro ended little changed against the U.S. dollar around
 $1.0720 ahead of Sunday's French presidential election.
    "We have got overall de-risking happening. You have people
keeping the powder dry ahead of Sunday," said Karl Schamotta,
director of global product and market strategy at CambridgeGlobal Payments in Toronto.
    "Traders are looking for liquidity and countries with a
strong net international position," he said.
    The U.S. dollar index <.DXY> was also steady at 99.75 while
the yen <JPY=>.
    U.S. Treasury prices were little changed with eyes on
France. 10-year note yields have held in a tight range since
falling to five-month lows on Tuesday, as investors await a
catalyst to determine if bonds will resume their rally.
    Benchmark 10-year notes <US10YT=RR> last fell 2/32 in price
to yield 2.2463 percent, from 2.241 percent late on Thursday.
    Spot gold <XAU=> added 0.2 percent to $1,284.00 an ounce.

Graphic: World FX rates in 2017
French election graphic:
Decision Europe Eikon page:    cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?navid=72745
Global assets in 2017
Global bonds dashboard
 (Additional reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed, Julia Simon, Chuck
Mikolajczak and Karen Brettell; editing by Clive McKeef)
 ((; @rodrigocampos; +1.646.223.6344;
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