The Paris Bourse began the session lower on Friday morning, in the face of increasing geopolitical tensions and rising US interest rates, suggesting that the end of the week could see the stock market fall below the 8,000-point mark. The CAC40 index fell by around 0.7% to 7965 points, as the psychological threshold of 8000Pts was breached at the opening.

After a complicated week, investors are still navigating by sight, trying to digest the implications of the latest events in the Middle East.

Iran reportedly repelled a drone attack overnight in what appears to be a possible military retaliation by Israel, raising fears of an escalation in the tug-of-war now being waged between the two countries.

Faced with the uncertainties linked to geopolitical tensions, market participants prefer to turn to assets deemed safer, such as the dollar.

Unsurprisingly, the oil market rebounded significantly, as developments in the Middle East fueled fears of a possible closure of the Strait of Hormuz and an American retaliation.

Brent crude climbed 1.9% to $88.8 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) gained over 2% to $84.4.

Added to this was a sharp resurgence of tension on the US bond market.

Yields on US Treasuries, which had fallen back slightly in mid-week, are back on the rise, with the 10-year rising to 4.65%, its highest level since November.

While trading may remain light in the absence of any major economic indicators, the day will nevertheless be marked by US releases from American Express, Procter & Gamble and SLB.

Last night, Netflix reported quarterly results in line with expectations, but the stock fell by 5% in pre-market trading after announcing that it would no longer publish new subscriber figures in its quarterly accounts from 2025 onwards.

In Paris, services group Sodexo reported a 46.3% increase in adjusted net income from continuing operations to 496 million euros for its first half-year (to the end of February), and a 40 basis point improvement in its operating margin to 5.1%.

On the occasion of its half-yearly publication, Pluxee raised its annual targets, aiming for organic sales growth of between 15 and 17%, and a recurring EBITDA margin of at least 35% at constant exchange rates. The company - which was recently spun off from Sodexo - reported a 25.6% drop in net income to 68 million euros for its first half-year.

While reiterating its 'neutral' position on L'Oréal, UBS has raised its target price from 460 to 467 euros, a new target that offers a 10% upside potential for the world's number one cosmetics company. Last night, the group announced sales of 11.24 billion euros for the first three months, up +8.3% on a reported basis.

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