Trump says Paris terror attack will have 'big effect' on election

Security was also a prominent concern after a wave of extremist attacks on French soil, including Thursday's attack by a gunman who fatally shot a police officer in Paris before being killed by security forces.

Armed French police officers in Paris.

Macron is in the lead with 24 percent of the first-round vote, ahead of Le Pen who had fallen back slightly to 21.5 percent, according to an Elabe survey of voter intentions taken before the shooting.

Fillon and Le Pen in particular have faced criticism for what has been described as a cosy relationship with the Russian administration.

Le Pen has put terrorism, immigration and criticism of the European Union at the center of her campaign.

Paris - On Friday, French prime minister Bernard Cazeneuve accused far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen of seeking to use the killing of a policeman on Paris's Champs Elysées for political gain.

Former President Barack Obama has also gotten involved in France's election, offering centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron his best wishes in a phone call Thursday, though he, too, stopped short of a full endorsement. (AP Photo/Michel Euler) Expand / Contract Le Pen has made getting tough on terror a cornerstone of her campaign.

The attack overshadowed the last day of campaigning for Sunday's presidential election first round, bringing raw issues surrounding Islamist militancy to the fore.

The fact that either a far-left or far-right, euroskeptic candidate could advance to take one-or both-of the top two spots has been making markets jittery over the past week, with European equities booking modest weekly losses, while the euro weakened against the dollar.

If Le Pen or Melenchon win a spot in the runoff, it will be seen as a victory for the populist wave reflected by the votes for Donald Trump and Brexit - the British departure from the EU.

Other polls in the past few days had indicated similar results, in which Macron will face off Le Pen in the second round of votes on May 7, and win by majority.

French overseas territories and residents in some US states such as Hawaii began voting on Saturday in the French presidential election, a day ahead of a main first-round vote that could change the global political landscape.

Brokers are out with the most of their measures to curtail their clients' and their own market exposure in the run up to the French presidential election.

"This war against us is ceaseless and merciless", she said, accusing the Socialist government of a "cowardly" response to the threat.

Conservative candidate Francois Fillon came third with 20 percent and far-left Jean-Luc Melenchon came fourth with 19.5 percent.

There's Marine Le Pen. Political campaigning was suspended following news of the attack.

Earlier this week French authorities arrested two men in Marseille who were allegedly planning an attack in a run-up to the election. Two other cops were wounded, as was a tourist.