European stock markets initially opened higher on Monday after independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron scored a sweeping victory in France's presidential election before equity gauges shifted into negative territory as oil prices edged lower.
Home to Europe's second largest economy, and a key political force within the shared currency union, France's run-off presidential election on Sunday came at time when the longevity of the 28-member bloc had become the subject of intense debate after Britain's unprecedented decision to leave the bloc last year. Pro-European Macron, once seen as an outsider having only set up his independent 'En Marche!' party one year ago, secured 66% of the vote, dealing a blow to far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who had been in favor of France leaving the EU and who lost with 34% of the vote.
Ratings agency Moody's on Monday described Macron's win as "credit positive" for France but warned that if the president and parliament were unable to agree on policies, France "could face five years of policy drift, undermining its sovereign credit profile". Politicians and diplomats were also quick to issue statements with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, tweeted in French: "Happy that the French have chosen a European future. Together for a stronger and fairer Europe". In Britain, a Downing Street spokesperson said Prime Minister Theresa May had spoken to President-elect Macron "to warmly congratulate him on his election victory" adding that the leaders had briefly discussed Brexit.
Oil prices, meanwhile, where fractionally lower with West Texas Intermediate ( WTI ) crude oil futures, the main US oil benchmark, 0.1% lower at $46.16 per barrel while Brent crude, the international gauge, was down by 0.2% at $49.02 per barrel at the time of writing. The price slide coincided with a jump in the value of the US currency. As a dollar-denominated commodity, a more expensive buck tends to make oil less affordable for international buyers.
And, in equities, Land Securities Group, a real estate investment trust, was up by 2.1% on London's FTSE 100 Index, followed by Intu Properties, a shopping center-focused business, 1.5% higher and supermarket chain Sainsbury, up by 0.9%. Barclays, a high-street bank, was 0.5% higher.
On Frankfurt's DAX, industrial steel-maker Thyssenkrupp was 1.6% lower, followed by athletic apparel retailer adidas, down by 1.2% and airline operator Lufthansa and Fresenius, a kidney dialysis company, both 1.2% lower. And, on Paris' CAC-40, SocieteGenerale, a financial services institution was 2.7% lower, followed by Schneider Electric, an electricity distribution company, and Compagnie de Saint Gobain SA, a distributor of construction, materials and packaging, both 1.2% lower.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 Index was 0.03% lower, London's FTSE 100 Index was up by 0.15%, Paris' CAC-40 was 0.44% lower and Frankfurt's DAX was down by 0.06% at the time of writing.
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