April 24, 2017 / 12:55 PM / in a year

US STOCKS-Wall St looks set to rally as French vote worries ease

* Macron, Le Pen to face-off on May 7 in final vote

* Bank stocks rise more than 2 pct

* Hasbro surges on profit beat

* Futures up: Dow 218 pts, S&P 27.25 pts, Nasdaq 62.25 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

April 24 (Reuters) - The Nasdaq was poised to open at a record high on Monday, with other indexes likely to rally, as investors breathed a sigh of relief after Centrist candidate and market favorite Emmanuel Macron won the first round of the French election.

Polls showed pro-EU Macron is expected to beat right-wing rival Marine Le Pen in a deciding vote on May 7, quelling some fears of a breakup of the Eurozone after Britain’s shock exit vote last year.

While European stocks headed for their best day in two years, gold prices tumbled amid an unwinding of safe-haven trades.

“The markets are in a strong rebound as the expectations of the first round of the French elections results were pleasing,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial wrote in a note.

Dow e-minis were up 218 points, or 1.06 percent, at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT) with 42,017 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 27.25 points, or 1.16 percent, with 291,485 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 62.25 points, or 1.14 percent, on volume of 45,052 contracts.

U.S. investors are also gearing up for the busiest earnings week in at least a decade, with over 190 S&P 500 members, including heavyweights Alphabet and Microsoft due to report results.

Even as tensions in North Korea, the French election and a flagging “Trump trade” have weighed on sentiment in recent weeks investors have held on, encouraged by a strong showing in the first-quarter earnings season.

Upbeat earnings at company that have reported so far have increased profit growth expectations. Overall profit for S&P 500 companies is now estimated to have risen 11.2 percent in the first quarter, compared with the 10.1 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

About 76 percent of the S&P companies that had reported results until Friday beat earnings expectations.

Wall Street closed lower, but well off session-lows on Friday after President Donald Trump said he would have a “big announcement” on tax reforms on Wednesday.

Shares of big U.S. banks, including Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan rose over 2 percent in premarket trading on Monday. The S&P 500 financial sector had been the broader index’s biggest underperformer last week as investors favored safe-haven assets amid geopolitical risks.

Hasbro surged 5.7 percent after the toymaker reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit. Shares of rival Mattel were up about 1 percent.

Device maker C R Bard jumped more than 19 percent to $302 after U.S. medical equipment supplier Becton Dickinson said it would buy Bard for $24 billion. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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