The Paris Bourse ended the day down just 0.3%, at 7,932 points, penalized by Alstom (-3.5%), Dassault Systèmes (-2.9%) and Schneider (-2.2%), but buoyed by the rebound of Thales (+9%).

The day was rich in stats, the latest of which concerned anticipated activity indices in the United States: the ISM services index fell to 52.6 last month, from 53.4 in January, whereas economists were expecting it to be around 53, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

The activity sub-index, which measures production, improved to 57.2 from 55.8 in January, while the new orders sub-index rose to 56.1 from 55 the previous month.

On the other hand, the employment index fell to 48 from 50.5, as did the ISM index of prices paid, which dropped to 58.6 from 64 in January.

The 'S&P global PMI' for the US private sector (a 'cousin' of the ISM) was revised upwards in the 2nd reading, to 52.5, from 51.4 in the flash estimate, and from 52 the previous month.

This was the 13th consecutive month of expansion for private US companies, supported by a recovery in manufacturing output.... a trend partly bucked by a -3.6% fall in industrial production in the USA in January.

In Europe, industrial producer prices fell by 0.9% in January in the Eurozone and the EU, according to Eurostat, following declines of 0.9% and 0.8% respectively in December 2023.

Compared with January 2023, industrial producer prices fell by 8.6% in the Eurozone and 8.4% in the EU, annualized declines slowing from the 10.7% and 10% respectively seen in December.

Also in the Eurozone, the HCOB PMI composite index rose from 47.9 in January to 49.2 in February, reaching its highest level for eight months and indicating that overall activity is moving closer to stabilization.

In France, the HCOB PMI composite index of overall activity reached its highest level for nine months, rising from 44.6 in January to 48.1 in February, highlighting signs of recovery in the French economy.

On the other hand, production in the manufacturing industry fell 'sequentially' (-1.6% after +0.5% in December 2023) and in industry as a whole (-1.1% after +0.4%), according to INSEE's CVS-CJO data.

The markets are now awaiting the week's two major events: the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday and the US employment report on Friday.

Investors will also continue to keep an eye on the political news in the USA, with the crucial day known as 'Super Tuesday'.

The victories of Joe Biden and Donald Trump are widely expected in their respective camps, which means that both candidates should logically meet again in the presidential election scheduled for November 5.

Bond markets improved sharply on Tuesday, with Bunds easing by -8.5pts to 2.3150% and US T-Bonds also easing by -8pts to 4.14%.

This easing is perhaps to be seen in the context of the surge in gold prices (+2%), which set a new all-time record at $2,140 (before falling back below $2,130.

The dollar, another "safe-haven" asset, does not seem to reflect this status: it remains virtually unchanged at around $1.086/E.

In French company news, Bolloré announces the payment, as of March 11, of the earn-out of 0.25 euro per Bolloré share sold under its simplified tender offer for its own shares, which closed on May 30.

Thales reports net income for 2023 down 9% to 1.02 billion euros, due to an exceptional charge for pension commitments in the UK, but adjusted net income up 14% to 1.77 billion euros.

Following discussions in recent weeks with the French State, Eramet has reached an agreement on the treatment of SLN's existing debt, which will neutralize the weight of this debt in the Group's consolidated accounts.

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