Stocks slide as record rally pauses; French election fears linger

Stocks slide as record rally pauses; French election fears linger
Stocks slide as record rally pauses; French election fears linger

The only major economic data released Friday are leading indicators, which rose 0.6 percent in January.

"When you look at the underlying fundamentals, they're quite good. The big question on the horizon is Marine Le Pen," said Tower Bridge's Ogg. "If she wins, we're going to have a recession."

According to recent polls, Le Pen — France's far-right, anti-European Union candidate — is the favorite to win the first round of voting, scheduled for April. However, it is not clear whether she will win the run-off vote in May.

Socialist Benoit Hamon and hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon held talks Friday about possibly joining forces to beat Le Pen. French bond yields ticked higher on the news, pushing the spread between 10-year French sovereigns and German bunds above 70 basis points.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell about 0.4 percent Friday, but was still on track to post weekly gains.

U.S. Treasurys rose, with the benchmark 10-year note yield falling to 2.41 percent and the short-term two-year note yield declining to 1.18 percent.

"With risk aversion rippling across the board amid the ongoing uncertainty, Wall Street may be vulnerable to further losses," said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM.

"Although global stocks have repeatedly hit record highs from the 'Trump effect,' markets could find themselves under renewed selling pressure if the proposed fiscal stimulus and tax cuts fall below market expectations," he said.

CNBC

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