Vive la France ETF.
The largest exchange-traded fund to track the French equity market soared on heavy volume on Monday, in what amounted to a relief trade following the first round of the country’s presidential election, where centrist Emmanuel Macron posted a strong showing.
The iShares MSCI France ETF
jumped 5.4% in its biggest daily climb since August 2012. Roughly 340,000 shares traded hands in the first few minutes of trading, putting the fund on track to easily eclipse its 30-day average volume of 1.2 million.
With the move on the day, the ETF jumped to its highest level since June 2015.
Macron led the first round of the French presidential voting, with 23.9% of the vote ahead of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen with 21.4%. The two are set to face off in the final round May 7, and a poll late Sunday from Ipsos/Sopra Steria showed that Macron would likely win that runoff by 62% to 38%.
Other mainstream candidates in the French presidential race, conservative François Fillon and Socialist Benoît Hamon, were defeated in the first round and threw their support behind Macron. The support is seen as fending off National Front leader Le Pen, who has called for scrapping the euro and exiting from the European Union, a prospect seen as hugely destabilizing for the euro
and the trading bloc.
Investors had been so concerned about that prospect that last week, the ETF saw one-day outflows of $57.4 million, the largest one-day redemption for the fund since December 2013.
About $37.2 million poured into the ETF on Monday, according to FactSet data, bringing its year-to-date inflows to $67.8 million.
Not only were each of the ETF’s 76 holdings higher on the day, but they all rose by at least 1%. The biggest gainers were all financials, which were seen as the most vulnerable to the EU breaking up. Bank stocks Société Générale SA
and Crédit Agricole SA
both jumped nearly 12%, while BNP Paribas SA