U.S. indices set a new flurry of all-time highs - at the margin - in the morning, but the mood darkened towards the end of the session, perhaps due to a slight deterioration in the rates markets, after a flurry of statistics (but it's not obvious).

Perhaps traders felt that all bets were off on this eve of the "3 Witches", as US equities gained an average of +6% (Dow Jones) to +9.5% (Nasdaq) over the May term, which expires this Friday.

This is hardly a consolidation: the Dow Jones fell by -0.1% to 39,869, the S&P500 by -0.2% to 5,297 and the Nasdaq Composite by -0.25% to 16,698, in the wake of Cisco -2.7%, Biogen -2.1%, Meta and Broadcom -1.7%, Amazon -1.3%.

The Dow Jones even managed to briefly rise above 40,000 in the wake of Walmart +7%, while the S&P500 peaked at 5,325 and the Nasdaq-100 at 18,670.

The day was packed with statistics, and not all the figures were as 'reassuring' as the day before, most notably US import prices, which climbed +0.9% in April, their biggest increase since March 2022...

While higher oil product costs were the main reason for this stronger-than-expected statistic, various categories of goods saw their prices rise, which could rekindle fears of persistent inflation.

In addition, the Philly Fed manufacturing activity index unexpectedly fell by -11 points to 4.5 in May, due in particular to the -20 point plunge in the new orders component, which fell to -7.9.

On the housing front, the Commerce Department reported a 5.7% rebound in US housing starts in April compared with the previous month, but building permits - thought to foreshadow future starts - fell by 3%.

Finally, weekly jobless claims contracted by -10,000 to 222,000, reflecting a situation of full employment which could push up wages.

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