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Asian markets close mostly higher following landslide Macron victory in France; Nikkei surges 2.3%

Toshifumi Kitamura | AFP | Getty Images

Asian shares closed mostly higher on Monday following the landslide victory of Emmanuel Macron in the French polls on Sunday, with the Nikkei share average hitting its highest level since December 2015.

Macron defeated far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election, with the French interior ministry stating that the former had secured 65.1 percent of the vote. Macron, who is 39 years old, will become France's youngest president.

Market reaction was muted following the results of the French presidential vote, said National Australia Bank Head of FX Strategy Ray Attrill in a Monday morning note, although the euro/dollar bounced significantly.

The common currency hit a six-month high earlier in the session against the dollar but later gave up some its gains. Euro/dollar last traded at $1.0981.

"We do expect that the euro can grind higher in coming weeks and months — NAB FX Strategy's year-end target is $1.13 — partly in anticipation of the European Central Bank now expressing more confidence that downside risks to the euro zone economy and inflation have further receded," Attrill said.

Asian markets were mostly higher, with Japan's Nikkei 225 surging 2.31 percent or 450 points to close at 19,895.7. The Nikkei share average also reached its highest level since December 2015.

South Korea's benchmark Kospi index added 2.3 percent or 51.52 points to close at 2,292.76. Over in Australia, the ASX 200 closed 0.59 percent or 34.344 points higher at 5,870.9, driven largely by its energy and materials sub-indexes which were up 2.35 percent and 1.09 percent respectively.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.47 percent but mainland Chinese markets closed lower. The Shanghai Composite traded 0.85 percent or 26.2517 points lower at 3,076.7861 while the Shenzhen Composite fell 1.986 percent or 37.2016 points to close at 1,835.5866.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
NIKKEI
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HSI
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ASX 200
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SHANGHAI
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KOSPI
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CNBC 100
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In economic news, April trade data from China reflected that exports grew 8 percent while imports rose 11.9 percent on year in dollar terms. Both figures failed to meet analyst expectations.

The dollar traded at 98.64 against a basket of rival currencies, edging slightly higher compared to the 98.5 handle seen in the previous session. The greenback earlier fetched a seven-week high against the yen but later stabilized to trade at 112.71.

The risk-sensitive Aussie dollar continued its slide against the dollar, trading lower at $0.7409 following the release of trade data from China.

Also in Australia, stocks of Fairfax Media rose 2.36 percent to close at A$1.085 a stock after TPG Capital, a private equity company, made an offer to acquire the media company's newspapers and online real estate business. Other media companies also saw their shares rise; Nine Entertainment gained 5.34 percent and Ten Network surged 19.32 percent.

On the energy front, oil prices rose on the back of renewed output cut hopes, with U.S. crude gaining 0.8 percent to trade at $46.59 a barrel. Brent crude added 0.88 percent to trade at $49.53. This comes after oil futures sold off last week to register its lowest prices in five months.

Stateside, equities closed higher on Friday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closing at record levels following the release of strong April jobs data.