US stocks rise as Wall Street eyes French vote
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US stocks rise as Wall Street eyes French vote

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks rose early Thursday with strong earnings from American Express offsetting a disappointing report from Verizon as the market looked ahead to Sundays vote in the French presidential election.A note from Wells Fargo said the gain in French stocks as the result of better polling data for centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron was supporting Wall Street equities.Still, the closeness of the polls has created the potential for a runoff between far right leader Marine Le Pen and hard-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon.That would be pretty much the worst-case scenario since both candidates have an anti-euro disposition that would raise a lot of concerns about the fate of the European Union, analyst Patrick OHare said.About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 20,437.61, up 0.2 percent.The broad-based Sand#38;P 500 also gained 0.2 percent to 2,342.64, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.4 percent to 5,885.95.Dow member American Express jumped 3.2 percent after reporting that first-quarter earnings were $1.34 per share, six cents above analyst expectations.But Verizon Communications lost 2.0 percent after reporting that first quarter earnings dropped 19.8 percent to $3.6 billion as it lost 307,000 wireless subscribers during the period.

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