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PARIS (Reuters) - HSBC (HSBA.L) analysts said on Thursday that they still expected a mainstream candidate to win this year's French presidential candidate, in spite of polls showing right-wing runner Francois Fillon losing ground while the far-right remains popular.
Investors' concerns that the far right could win the presidential vote and take France out of the European Union had pushed the premium investors demand to hold French government debt over German bonds to its highest level since November 2012 earlier this week.
HSBC's team noted these tensions on the bond market, but added that they nevertheless expected either independent centrist Emmanuel Macron or Fillon to beat the far-right's National Front leader Marine Le Pen in the final vote in May.
"If polls are reliable, they currently suggest either Macron or Fillon (despite his recent difficulties) would beat Le Pen in the run-off. So we continue to consider a mainstream candidate as the most likely outcome," said HSBC.
Fillon's campaign has been hit by allegations concerning his wife's work for him, while Macron has yet to clarify his policies.
Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Leigh Thomas