Paris (+0.1%) is back in the green, but that won't be enough to end the week with a weekly gain (we'd need to gain a further 0.5% and return to the opening levels, i.e. 7,960pts).

But the CAC40 is an exception, as the month of March kicks off with a new festival of absolute records: what better way to end the week than to start a new calendar month?

Investors can't seem to get enough of the upside (18th week of gains for equities since October 31 in Europe, Japan and the USA), and this Friday sees a firework display of records (DAX40, Euro-Stoxx50, S&P500, Nasdaq Comp.., Nasdaq-100, Nikkei, etc.).

The week will end with a 5/5 rise for the E-Stoxx50 (+0.4% to 4,995, but it broke through 4,900 this morning), and a +0.5% gain for the Nasdaq (16.180... and over 18,160 for the Nasdaq-100 with +0.7%).

It should be noted that the day had started well, with the Nikkei soaring by +2.1% on the weekly, to close at 40,000Pts, i.e. 1.000Pts higher than its previous record of 38,900 set 34 years ago.

This morning, investors took note of various statistics, such as the HCOB PMI index for eurozone manufacturing industry, produced by S&P Global, which stood at 46.5 in February, relatively stable compared with the ten-month high recorded in January (46.6).

In France, the PMI HCOB index for the manufacturing industry, produced by S&P Global, recovered from 43.1 in January to 47.1 in February, its highest level since March 2023, thus highlighting a sharp slowdown in the sector's contraction.

On the bond market, Thursday's early-morning attempt at a rebound came to nothing, with OATs easing +1Pts to 2.8830% and Bunds at a standstill at 2.400% (vs. 2.4050 the previous day).

T-Bonds, on the other hand, eased -5Pts to 4.202%, marking a good week with a spread of -4Pts... which can be summed up by today's improvement (taking the week from red to green).

This 'late' easing can be linked - quite logically - to the poor ISM manufacturing index and the fall in the University of Michigan's consumer confidence index.

Activity in the US manufacturing sector contracted for the 16th month in a row in February, according to the monthly survey published Friday by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

The ISM manufacturing index fell to 47.8 last month, from 49.1 in January (and 49.5 expected).

The new orders sub-index fell by 3.3 points back below the critical 50-point threshold, to 49.2 from 52.5 the previous month.

The component measuring production also sank into the contraction zone, to 48.4 in February from 50.4, while that measuring prices paid remained high, at 52.5 compared with 52.9 in January.

US consumer confidence deteriorated sharply in February, according to the index calculated by the University of Michigan, which finally came in at 76.9, compared with a preliminary estimate of 79.6 and 79 for the previous month.

The dollar was relatively unaffected, losing 0.25%, while the euro climbed to 1.0835.
The easing in interest rates boosted gold, which soared by 1.7% to $2,070, making it the week's big winner... It's true that the geopolitical climate is becoming more tense, with France and Russia making more martial declarations.
Note that oil is also trying to break through major resistance, with Brent testing the decisive $83.7 barrier, and WTI clearing resistance at $78.5 and climbing +2.5% towards $80.

In French company news, at the close of the Heli-Expo 2024 show in Anaheim, California, Airbus Helicopters claims 155 commitments, including 40 firm orders, from customers worldwide for a variety of its multi-mission helicopters.

Maurel & Prom reports a 3% increase in net income to $210 million, despite a 19% decline in EBITDA to $359 million, on virtually stable sales (+1%) of $682 million.

Vallourec reports EPS of 2.07 euros for 2023, compared with -1.60 euro the previous year, and EBITDA up 67% to nearly 1.2 billion euros, above the upper limit of its previously communicated range.

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