Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Paris shooting will add further unpredictability to France's presidential elections

Moments before news of the attack emerged, Le Pen had welcomed security moving to the heart of the campaign making similar declarations as she took part in a prime-time interview show alongside 10 other presidential candidates.

Conservative candidate Fillon and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon have closed the gap substantially in the last two weeks. With their hardline view on security and immigration, the positions of Le Pen and Fillon may resonate more strongly for some voters.

Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron is appealing to French voters to keep a cool head in the wake of the gun attack of the Champs-Elysees that killed a police officer. An Ifop-Fiducial poll showed roughly the same breakdown.

USA stock index futures indicated Wall Street would also open a little higher, though investors stayed away from making big bets in either direction ahead of Sunday's vote.

France is the second-largest economy in the euro zone and one of the seven biggest across the world.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former President Barack Obama waded into France's closely watched presidential election on Thursday, offering centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron his best wishes - and even a bit of campaign advice.

Some gay Frenchmen interviewed in Le Marais expressed doubt that Le Pen would actually rescind marriage equality, which has been the law of the land in France since 2013.

That prediction is in line with other polls.

On Thursday evening, Macron won the support of former prime minister Dominique de Villepin, a conservative Gaullist who won global celebrity by dramatically opposing United States plans for war in Iraq.

Fillon - an early favourite before his campaign hit the rocks following nepotism allegations that he has denied - scored 20 percent, meaning he was now gaining on Le Pen.

His ratings have gradually recovered and on Thursday he redoubled attempts to dissuade his core voters from straying to Macron's camp. Bernie Sanders, has vowed a 90 percent tax on people earning more than $425,000 and wants to implement a 32-hour work week.

Leading presidential candidates have urged greater counterterrorism measures in a campaign already under a state of emergency. "Gay people are being crucified - it's a danger and I don't want it coming to France, definitely not". Even if he is unable to reform France's relationship with the European Union as he wishes, or convince voters to back Frexit in a referendum, markets will bathe in red, as one of the central cogs of European Union integration grinds into reverse. One of the wounded officers was critically injured but is improving, he said. "Listen - it's not me putting Europe at risk, I didn't make the British leave. and we too are fed up".

But options markets suggested investors remain anxious about strong results for Le Pen and/or hard-left challenger anti-EU Jean-Luc Mélenchon that would point to the risk of another major political shock for Europe in two weeks time. French food producer Danone fell 1.9% after reporting that sales rose by 0.7% in the first quarter from a year earlier, compared to growth of 2.1% in the fourth quarter, according to Reuters.

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