The Paris Bourse ended the session with a gain of 0.34%, at 7795 points, an all-time closing level, made possible by the performances of Air Liquide (+8.3%), Veolia (+2.6%) and Carrefour (+2.4%).

In addition to this closing record, the Paris index briefly reached 7805 points a few moments before the final gong, an altitude never before attained.

On the statistics front, investors took note of a +0.8% sequential rebound (and +1.9% annualized) in the eurozone construction sector in December, after two consecutive months of contraction, according to Eurostat (the European Union's statistical office).

Analysts at Capital Economics are nonetheless expecting a bout of weakness in the construction sector this year, after the highs reached last spring.

We expect construction to start declining again in 2024, mainly due to Germany's poor performance", stresses the London-based economic research firm.

In the USA, the Conference Board's index of leading indicators fell by -0.4% (the 22nd consecutive month of decline), but this was slightly better than the 0.5% drop anticipated.

As a result, the Conference Board says it no longer anticipates a US recession this year, but warns that growth will slow to near-zero levels in the second and third quarters.

On the bond front, the yield on ten-year Treasuries fell by -4.5pts to 4.251% (+50pts since the start of the year), while in Europe yields flirted with -4pts, with Bunds at 2.371%.

The euro gained almost 0.3% against the greenback, around $1.08/E.

The oil market remains torn between hopes of a global economic recovery and fears of a slower-than-expected recovery in demand. Against this backdrop, Brent crude fell by 1.2% to around $82.3 a barrel.

In corporate news, Bic (+8.7%) last night reported Q4 sales of €526.1m, stable on a reported basis (-0.1%) and up 2.4% on a comparable basis compared with Q4 of the previous year.

This morning, Air Liquide published net income for the past year, Group share, up 11.6% to 3.08 billion euros, or 5.90 euros per share, and recurring net income up 13.3% at constant exchange rates. Investors welcome the higher margin anticipated for 2024, as well as the dividend increase (+1 bonus share distributed in the spring, a traditional 'gift').

CGG announces the delivery of a new CCUS (Carbon Dioxide Capture, Utilization and Storage) study to evaluate potential CO2 storage sites in the fast-growing Southeast Asian region.

Neoen reports that it has passed the milestone of 1 GW (gigawatt) of renewable energy capacity in operation or under construction in the Nordic countries, five years after launching construction of its first wind power plant in Finland.

Finally, Orange and Masmovil announce that they have received authorization from the European Commission to combine their activities in Spain, in the form of a 50-50 joint venture, co-controlled, with equal governance rights at the level of the combined entity.

Copyright (c) 2024 All rights reserved.