MARKET REPORT: French president Emmanuel Macron’s snap election rattles global markets

As Euro 2024 started in Germany last night, it was not just the football that was taking a kicking.

Stocks across the region were also getting booted around the park, most notably those on the Paris bourse amid political uncertainty in France.

Following European elections last weekend which saw a swing to the far-Right, French president Emmanuel Macron shocked the country, and the continent, by immediately calling a snap parliamentary election.

The move spooked investors and continues to rattle global markets amid fears success for Marine Le Pen’s far-Right National Rally will lead to lavish spending, economic instability and a potential debt crisis.

France’s leading shares index, the CAC 40, dropped 2.7 per cent, having posted its worst daily performance since July last year in the previous session. As UK investors also grapple with uncertainty regarding an election and the outlook for interest rates, the FTSE 100 index notched up its fifth consecutive week of losses, its longest streak in the red since the start of the pandemic back in March 2020.

Man with a plan?: French president Emmanuel Macron shocked the country and the continent by immediately calling a snap parliamentary election

The blue-chip index edged down 0.2 per cent, or 16.81 points, to 8146.86.

The FTSE 250 index fell 0.4 per cent, or 75.59 points, to 20120.36, recording a third straight week of losses.

BT shares rose again as the Carlos Slim effect continued. The Mexican telecoms billionaire revealed after the markets closed on Wednesday that he has taken a 3.2 per cent stake in the company.

It sent shares up 4 per cent when trading resumed on Thursday and they gained another 3.4 per cent, or 4.55p, to 139.55p yesterday.

Burberry shed 4.2 per cent, or 43.3p, to 980.2p, under pressure as European luxury shares slumped amid worries about demand following a report that some brands are heavily discounting their products in China.

However, Legal & General was a FTSE 100 gainer, adding 0.5 per cent, or 1p, to 224.7p, as Bank of America analysts raised their rating for the insurance group to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’, although they trimmed their share price target to 268p from 275p.

The upgrade came after L&G’s boss Antonio Simoes this week revealed plans to take a more aggressive approach with his revamp of the company.

Simoes, who joined the company in January from Santander, wants to sell the housebuilder Cala, merge divisions, and initiate a £200m share buyback.

Among the small caps, Renalytix gained 18.5 per cent, or 3p, to 19.25p after its prognostic tool for kidney disease was given confirmation that it is covered under Medicare, the US federal health insurance programme, allowing the test to be rolled out in the US.

Harworth Group added 2.5 per cent, or 3.5p, to 142p. The property developer, which specialises in regenerating brownfield sites, said it secured planning permission from North Yorkshire Council’s Strategic Planning Committee for the development of a major rail-connected industrial and logistics hub at its 185-acre Gascoigne Interchange site in Leeds.