The Paris stock exchange ended the session with an anecdotal gain of 0.11%, at 7464 points, well helped by Publicis Groupe (+3.6%) and Airbus (+1.2%), but penalized by Teleperformance, which lost more than 6%.

By mid-day, the Paris index was down by as much as 0.6%, to 7411 points, before recovering in the second half of the session, the markets having been visibly reassured by the ECB's unsurprising statement.

Indeed, as strongly anticipated, the ECB announced that it was maintaining its main deposit rate for the second time at 4%, with Christine Lagarde indicating that the disinflationary trend was continuing and that rates were sufficiently restrictive to bring inflation back to its 2% target.

But her recent statements - and those of her rather hawkish lieutenants - suggest that the ECB remains vigilant with regard to the price-wage spiral, and that it considers expectations of rate cuts to be premature.

As today's press release was very short and devoid of any original announcements, the markets found cause for hope in the disappearance of a recurring phrase: "domestic inflationary pressures remain".

On the economic front: the job market remains robust, with unemployment at its lowest level for 20 years; growth is virtually nil, but could pick up again if demand picks up... but conflicts (Ukraine, Israel, Yemen) pose risks for global activity... and transport prices.
The current inflation rate remains close to 3.4% in the core sector, but has reached 4% in services.

On the other side of the Atlantic, real GDP growth in the United States for the fourth quarter of 2023 comes out at 3.3% annualized, according to a very first estimate from the Commerce Department.

Growth in the world's leading economy is therefore slowing sharply from the 4.9% recorded in the third quarter. However, by way of comparison, Jefferies was anticipating a slowdown to +2.3%.

'The increase recorded in the fourth quarter was mainly attributable to growth in consumer spending and exports. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased", says the Commerce Department.

Weekly jobless claims rose by +25,000, with 214,000 new claimants.
The four-week moving average - more representative of the underlying trend - came in at 202,250 for the same week, down by 1,500 on the previous week's revised average.

New single-family home sales also came as a surprise: they rebounded by 8% in December 2023 compared with the previous month, to an annualized rate of 664,000 units, according to the Commerce Department, following a 9% drop in November.

The median home price was $413,200, and the average price was $487,300. The inventory of new homes for sale stands at 453,000, representing a supply of around 8.2 months at the current rate of sales.

Surprisingly, these very robust figures (notably GDP) are not worrying the US fixed-income markets, with the T-Bond 2034 erasing -3.6pts to 4.14%.

Still on the statistics front, we note that the business climate in France is stable compared with December 2023, with the Insee synthetic indicator holding steady at 98, just below its long-term average (100).

In Germany, the business climate deteriorated in January, confirming the recessionary dynamic in which Europe's leading economy is evolving, shows the monthly survey published Thursday by the Ifo institute.

The Ifo index - calculated from a sample of some 9.000 companies - came in at 85.2 this month, compared with 86.3 in December, while economists were on average expecting a slight improvement to 86.6.

On the foreign exchange market, the euro lost 0.4% against the greenback, to $1.083/Euro.

In French company news, STMicroelectronics reported net income for the last quarter of 2023 down 13.8% to $1.08 billion, or $1.14 per share, with an operating margin of 23.9%, compared with 29.1% for the same period last year.

Publicis Groupe reports anticipated net income growth of 4.2% to 13.1 billion euros for 2023, with organic growth of +6.3%, above the +5.5-6% target range raised last October.

TotalEnergies announces that it has been selected, along with its partner Corio Generation, for their offshore wind project Attentive Energy Two for a 20-year contract to supply 1.34 GW of renewable electricity to the US state of New Jersey.

Atos announces that its Eviden business line will collaborate with EETT, the Greek national regulatory authority for the provision of electronic communications services and networks, related facilities and services, and postal services.

Finally, this evening Alten is publishing sales of €4,068m for the 2023 financial year, up 7.6% on 2022, with business up 10.2% in France and +6.4% internationally.

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