The Paris Bourse ended the session with a gain of 1.27%, at 7911 points, a 6th consecutive absolute closing record, after having earlier set a new intraday record, at 7924 points.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq-100 (+2.4%) was literally propelled beyond the 17.900 pts by Nvidia, which shattered its previous record by almost $35, at $778, and a 15% rise corresponds to an increase of over $240 billion in its capitalization (Meta record of +$205 billion shattered by $35 billion), which exceeds $1.920 billion (an annual increase of more than +50%).

Rivian (-27%) fell on Wednesday evening after warning of weak pick-up sales in 2024, while Lucid (-10%) suffered the same blow.

In terms of figures, the US private sector saw its activity growth slow in February, according to S&P Global, whose composite PMI index came in at 51.4 in a flash estimate, after reaching 52 the previous month, its highest since July 2023.

Cost pressures eased further, but growth momentum in the services sector weakened", explains S&P Global, while manufacturing output returned to growth.

Sales of existing homes rose by a slightly stronger-than-expected +3.1% in January in the United States, thanks in particular to an acceleration of the market in the Midwest, South and West of the country.

According to figures published this Thursday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), annualized sales of existing homes fell by 1.7%.

The median sale price was $379,100, a 5.1% year-on-year increase.
At the current rate, it takes about three months to clear the inventory of homes, says the NAR.

The Labor Department announced a drop of -12.000 in the week ending February 12, to 201,000 claimants.

The four-week moving average - more representative of the underlying trend - came out at 215,250 that same week, down by 3,500 on the previous week's revised average.

These figures take a back seat to the cautious tone of the Fed's "minutes", which confirmed last night that the central bank wanted to give itself time before cutting rates, something the market had already taken on board.

On the European statistics front, the HCOB composite PMI for overall activity in France rebounded from 44.6 in January to 47.7 in February, a nine-month high that signals the smallest decline in private-sector activity in the current downturn.

The German manufacturing PMI for February followed the opposite trajectory, dropping -3.2pts to 42.3.

Finally, the HCOB flash composite PMI index of overall activity in the eurozone stood at 48.9 in February, compared with 47.9 in January, signalling a ninth consecutive monthly decline in private-sector activity, albeit the weakest since June 2023.

Bond markets remain stable, far from the Nvidia-driven exuberance: US T-Bonds shed a symbolic 1pt to 4.313%.

European stats are mixed, but poor German figures are sparking interest in Bunds, which also shed -1pt to 2.4300%, our OATs ease -2pts to 2.903% and Italian BTPs -4pts to 3.9050%.

Brent crude gains 0.4% to $83.5 in London, while gold stagnates at 2020$/oz.

In French corporate news, Danone reports a 3.4% rise in recurring EPS to 3.54 euros, driven by a 40 basis point increase in recurring operating margin to 12.6% on net sales of over 27.6 billion euros.

Eramet (+1.1%) reported an 85% drop in net income (group share) to 109 million euros, and a 59% drop in adjusted EBITDA to 772 million, on adjusted sales of 3.82 billion, down 26% organically on a negative price effect.

For 2023, Seb reports a 22% increase in net income to 386 million euros and a 1.3-point improvement in operating margin to 9.1%, on annual sales of 8.01 billion euros, up 5.3% at cagr (constant exchange rates and scope of consolidation).

Alongside the publication of its results, Seb announces a project to acquire the French family group Sofilac, to strengthen its expertise in high-end cooking and thus pursue its growth in professional and semi-professional markets.

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