The French presidential election is grabbing all the headlines in Europe, but another contest may serve as an indicator for France's election — and Europe's future.
The Netherlands is scheduled to hold a general election on March 15, and right now the race is a dead heat between Geert Wilders — leader of the populist Party of Freedom (PVV) — and incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who leads the more moderate People's Party for Freedom (VVD).
Markets will be watching the Dutch contest not just to get a sense of who may win the French election, but to gauge the likelihood of the European Union's disintegration.
"That could be the canary in the coal mine," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, referring to the Dutch election. "This could be a preview of what could happen in the French election."