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European Shares Slightly Higher Ahead of French Presidential Election

European shares gained in early deals, however, France's benchmark CAC 40 dropped marginally ahead of the first round of voting in the French presidential election.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.1 percent, on course to mark its third consecutive session of advances, with France's CAC slipping 0.4 percent.

The rally in basic resources stocks supported broader gains, as the sector climbed 1.9 percent due to higher metals prices. Investor appetite for such stocks appears to have evaded U.S. President Donald Trump's launch of a probe in Chinese steel, which raises the possibility of new tariffs.

Banking stocks were also higher in early deals, but eventually fell into the red. Trump ordered the Treasury to find and trim tax burdens and review post-financial crisis reforms into banks and insurance firms. French banks extended advances, as Societe Generale, BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole were up 0.2 percent to 1.2 percent.

Among shares active on corporate news, Software AG hit the top of the European benchmark in early deals, rising 4.2 percent. It followed the firm's latest earnings report that showed improvement in its digital business.

Engineering company WS Atkins climbed four percent after Canada's SNC-Lavalin Group said it will purchase the firm for C$3.6 billion ($2.67 billion).
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