The Paris Bourse is set to open virtually unchanged on Wednesday morning as it awaits the latest US economic growth figures, due to be released in the early afternoon.

At around 8.15am, the future contract on the CAC 40 index - March delivery - was down 4.5 points at 7970.5, suggesting a token gain at the start of trading.

After their impressive rise since the start of the year, stock markets have begun to show signs of running out of steam in recent days, a breather that many investors considered necessary.

All the world's major stock indices are now hovering around their recent all-time highs, showing that investors are reluctant to push up valuations that are often considered high.

The publication at 2.30pm of a second estimate of US growth for the fourth quarter of 2023 could give the world's stock markets a little boost.

Analysts are expecting the Commerce Department to confirm the strong 3.3% growth recorded by the US economy over the last three months of the year.

But the good performance of economic indicators in the USA could also undermine the prospect of an imminent Fed rate cut.

If activity remains solid across the Atlantic, or even improves, how could monetary easing by the Federal Reserve be justified?

In this respect, tomorrow's announcement of the PCE index of consumer spending excluding food and energy, the Fed's preferred indicator for gauging inflation, will act as a test.

In Europe, some indicators seem to be showing the beginnings of improvement - such as the PMIs published last week - but the overall picture remains gloomy.

The Eurozone business climate index, expected in the morning, could show that economic sentiment has passed its low point, without however signalling a clear rebound in growth.

European bond markets continued to deteriorate, with German 10-year yields climbing back above 2.46%, the highest level since the beginning of December 2023.

The yield on 10-year Treasuries, which had tended to fall back in the context of stock market euphoria at the start of the year, also started to rise again, to over 4.31%.

On the foreign exchange front, the dollar continued to look gloomy in the wake of yesterday's mediocre statistics from the US, allowing the euro to cling to the 1.0825 mark.

In the energy market, oil prices are consolidating ahead of the release of weekly crude inventories in the USA later this afternoon.

Brent crude is down 0.6% at $83.1, while US WTI is down 0.6% at $78.4.

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