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Futures rally as French worries ease; earnings in focus | Reuters

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

U.S. stock index futures rose sharply on Monday, tracking European and Asian stocks, as investors breathed a sigh of relief after Centrist candidate and market favorite Emmanuel Macron won the first round of the French election.

* Polls showed pro-EU Macron is expected to beat right-wing rival Marine Le Pen in a deciding vote next month, reducing the chances of France taking a Britain-like shock step to exit the Union. [nL1N1HT15M]

* While Euro zone stocks headed for their best day in two years, gold prices tumbled amid an unwinding of safe-haven trades.

* U.S. investors are also gearing up for the busiest earnings week in at least a decade, with over 190 S&P 500 members, including heavyweights Alphabet (GOOGL.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O) due to report results.

* Even as tensions in North Korea, the French election and a flagging “Trump trade” have weighed on sentiment in recent weeks investors have held on, encouraged by a strong showing in the first-quarter earnings season.

* Upbeat earnings so far have increased expectations for profit growth. Overall profit for S&P 500 companies is now estimated to have risen 11.2 percent in the first quarter, compared with the 10.1 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

* Wall Street closed lower, but well off session-lows on Friday after President Donald Trump said he would have a “big announcement” on tax reforms on Wednesday. [nW1N1H4024]

* Shares of big U.S. banks, including Bank of America (BAC.N), Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and JPMorgan (JPM.N) rose over 2 percent in premarket trading on Monday. The S&P 500 financial sector .SPSY had been the broader index’s biggest underperformer last week as investors favored safe-haven assets amid geopolitical risks.

* Hasbro (HAS.O) rose 2.6 percent after the toymaker reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit. Shares of rival Mattel (MAT.O) were up nearly 2 percent on the news. [nL4N1HW3RG]

* Medical devices maker C R Bard (BCR.N) jumped 20 percent to $304 after U.S. medical equipment supplier Becton Dickinson (BDX.N) said it would buy Bard for $24 billion. [nL1N1HV0M6]

Futures snapshot at 6:58 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 210 points, or 1.02 percent, with 37,877 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 27.5 points, or 1.17 percent, with 255,668 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 58.25 points, or 1.07 percent, on volume of 38,996 contracts.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)


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