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Nasdaq at record; French stocks fall on pre-election angst

NEW YORK, Feb 8, 2017 (BSS/AFP) - US equities rose Tuesday, with the Nasdaq edging to a fresh record, but Paris stocks and the euro retreated on rising anxiety about the French presidential election.

The Nasdaq was boosted again by Apple, which rose another one percent following a strong earnings report last week. Netflix and eBay also were among the gainers.

Analysts said US earnings in the latest quarter were broadly beating

expectations, a sign of the improving economy.

But at the same time, there is rising skepticism about the ability of US President Donald Trump to follow through on tax cuts and other plans following a series of controversies over immigration and trade.

"You've got a tug of war between fundamentals, which are better, and confusion out of Washington and when we're going to get to the pro-growth parts of the agenda," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

Equity markets in Frankfurt and London rose modestly, but the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.5 percent on worries that far-right candidate Marine Le Pen could benefit from surging populism after Trump's election and the British vote to leave the European Union.

"The increasing popularity of Marine Le Pen ahead of the French elections, coupled with growing disapproval towards the mainstream parties and general anti-establishment feeling in the US and Europe over the last 12 months could seriously add to the political instability in Europe," said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.

"This is adding to the feeling of uncertainty and may continue to do so as the elections approach."

Le Pen on Sunday vowed she would put France first as she formally launched a campaign echoing many of the themes that propelled Trump to the White House.

Her opponent, Francois Fillon, has been embroiled in a scandal since it emerged his British-born spouse Penelope was paid hundreds of thousands of euros for a suspected "fake job."

Analysts said the French election campaign was a factor in a retreat by the euro against the dollar.

"The market is starting to pay closer attention to France's upcoming

presidential election in the spring," said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions.

"The race is seen up for grabs" now, following the troubles for Fillon, who had been a frontrunner.

- Key figures near 2200 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 20,090.29 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP less than 0.1 percent at 2,293.08 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.2 percent at 5,674.22 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,186.22 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 11,549.44 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.5 percent at 4,754.47 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,234.67

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 percent at 18,910.78 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 23,331.57 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.1 at 3,153.09 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0684 from $1.0752

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2507 from $1.2470

Dollar/yen: UP at 112.37 yen from 111.70 yen

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 84 cents at $52.17 per barrel

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 67 cents at $55.05 per barrel

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)