European markets are gaining due to a centrist French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron taken as the stronger candidate in a brutal TV debate with rival Marine Le Pen.
There’s also been some encouraging earnings which are contributing to the optimism this Thursday. France’s CAC is up to highs not seen since before the financial crisis of 2008 and the Dax is also loitering around a record with the common currency also surging in response.
Macron is perceived to be more business-friendly as well as pro-European, together this makes him market friendly, especially in contrast to Le Pen with her far-right agenda.
HSBC reported a 19% fall in profits for the first three months of 2017. But the share price is gaining today, because the fall in profits to $5bn beat analysts' forecasts. The fall was put down to accounting changes, while the results last year included proceeds from the sale of its Brazilian business.
Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has revealed its first quarter profit more than doubled – jumping to $3.4bn (£2.6bn) from $1bn last year. The 55% rise in oil prices in the first quarter of 2017 compared with a year earlier was the main driver of profits has resulted in better-than-expected results for BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Total.
--- Written by Katie Pilbeam, DailyFX