The Paris Bourse set a new closing record this evening, at 8161 points (+0.29%), after setting a new all-time intraday record at 8218 points.

The Paris index, driven in particular by Vivendi (+2.4%) and Publicis Groupe (+2.1%), stalled in the second half of the session, following the release of US producer prices ('PPI'), which rose by 0.6% gross in February (twice as much as forecast) compared with the previous month, and by 0.4% excluding food, energy and business services.

According to the Labor Department, the increase stood at 1.6% gross annualized and 2.8% excluding food, energy and commercial services last month, compared with annual rates of 1% and 2.7% respectively in January.

No surprise, however, for US retail sales, which rebounded by 0.6% sequentially in February, broadly in line with market expectations, following a 1.1% decline the previous month (revised from an initial estimate of -0.8%).

The Commerce Department, which publishes these figures, states that excluding the automotive sector (vehicles and equipment), US retail sales rose by 0.3% last month, following a 0.8% drop in January.

Finally, the Labor Department announced 209,000 new US jobless claims for the week of March 4, down 1,000 on the previous week's revised figure (210,000 instead of the 217,000 initially announced).

The four-week moving average - more representative of the underlying trend - came in at 208,000 for the same week, an anecdotal decline of 500 on the previous week's revised average.

These figures have cooled the atmosphere a little, but this may only be temporary (as we saw with the NFP and CPI figures, which were worse than expected but quickly digested).

Whatever the news, traders remain confident in the future", says Christopher Dembik, at Pictet AM, warning however that "at some stage, a breather will be needed, at least to allow for profit-taking".

"A future bad company publication or statistic could be the trigger. This will allow those who missed out on the bullish rally at the start of the year to get in", says the professional.

"Finally, let's bear in mind that once the key interest-rate cut begins, a priori next June, a large part of the capital invested in money-market instruments will go into the equity market in search of a higher yield", he continues.

In the meantime, the bond market's reaction to the PPI and retail sales figures is negative: US T-Bonds are up +10pts to 4.295%, our OATs are up +7pts to 2.8600%, and Bunds are up +7pts to 2.4200%.

The dollar is taking advantage of this to recover slightly, up +0.3% to $1.0915 against the euro.
Bitcoin, which set a new all-time high at $73,800 (this morning at 8.05 a.m.), then relapsed (-3.1%) to $70,700, was fairly volatile.

Oil (up 1.4% at $85.1 in London) confirmed its breakthrough of the $83.7 resistance level, even though US consumption forecasts were revised downwards for 2024, due to lower growth forecasts.

In other stock news, in vitro diagnostics specialist bioMérieux reports a 21% decline in net income (group share) for 2023, but a 2% organic increase in EBITDA.

The Iliad group's sales growth reached 10.4% to €9.24 billion in 2023, and 11.3% in Q4. Group EBITDAaL 2023, at 3.44 billion euros, was up 4.2% (2.1% pro forma organic). The Group's ambition is to achieve sales of 10 billion euros by 2024, and to become Europe's 5th largest mobile operator," says management.

Air Liquide announces the sale to Adenia Partners Ltd of its activities in twelve African countries, representing annual sales of around 60 million euros (less than 10% of the Group's sales on the continent).

Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), announces the signature of an initial 7 ME contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop the radar instrument that will equip the two Earth observation satellites.

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