Market: Europe ends in the green, the ECB reiterates its caution on rates

(Reuters) – European stock markets ended higher on Friday and consolidated their gains after the previous day’s records, but on a more moderate note, as ECB officials again called for caution over a rapid reduction in interest rates. interest.

In Paris, the CAC 40 ended up 0.7% at 7,966.68 points. The British Footsie gained 0.28% and the German Dax 0.28%.

The EuroStoxx 50 index increased by 0.36%, the FTSEurofirst 300 by 0.42% and the Stoxx 600 by 0.42%.

The CAC 40 thus ends its third week in a row on the rise and records a weekly gain of 2.5%. Over the week, the Stoxx 600 gained 1.1%.

The European stock markets, which experienced strong growth the day before in the wake of the results of Nvidia, heavyweight in artificial intelligence, evolved on a much more moderate note on Friday, the market having received comments from several policy makers monetary policy advocating a prudent approach to reducing interest rates.

While ECB President Christine Lagarde said the data on eurozone wage growth in the fourth quarter was encouraging, she also said it was not yet enough to give the Frankfurt institute the certainty that inflation has been defeated.

The two German members of the ECB Governing Council, Isabel Schnabel and Joachim Nagel, were also cautious, calling not to give in to the temptation of a premature rate cut and warning that efforts to bring inflation back to its target might be more difficult than expected.

Investors on Friday expected the ECB to cut interest rates by 90 basis points in 2024, down from 102 basis points on Monday. At the beginning of February, they were betting on more than 150 basis points.

The markets will have enough to fuel their bets next week with a burst of data on inflation in the United States, the euro zone and Japan and with the PMI activity indices in China.


Fnac Darty climbed 7.8% after the publication of its results for 2023, marked by a decline in operating profit but strong cash generation.

Bouygues lost 1.6% after signing an exclusivity agreement for the takeover of La Poste Telecom.

Elsewhere in Europe, British bank Standard Chartered gained 4.8% as it announced a billion-dollar share buyback after an 18% increase in profits in 2023.


At the close in Europe, the Dow Jones gained 0.35% and the Standard & Poor’s 500 0.13%, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 0.16% after Thursday’s rally. led by semiconductor manufacturer Nvidia.


The revised reading of German GDP confirmed on Friday that Europe’s largest economy contracted by 0.3% over the last three months of 2023, while German business morale improved very slightly in February.


Foreign exchange markets remain stable.

The dollar fell (-0.03%) against a basket of reference currencies, while the euro gained 0.02% to 1.0825 dollars.


Euro zone bond yields ended lower on Friday as ECB officials continued to dampen hopes of a rapid rate cut.

The German ten-year yield lost seven basis points to 2.36%, and the two-year rate lost around four basis points to 2.8693%.

The US bond markets are also falling, with the ten-year bond market losing seven basis points to 4.2539%, and the two-year bond market losing three basis points to 4.6832%.


Oil prices are retreating and on track to end a two-week streak of gains.

Crude oil is particularly hurt by comments from Fed Governor Christopher Waller, who said on Thursday that the US central bank should delay interest rate cuts for at least two more months, which could slow economic growth and dampen growth. demand for oil.

Brent lost 1.95% to $82.04 per barrel, with American light crude (West Texas Intermediate, WTI) increasing 2.1% to $76.96.

(Some data may have a slight lag)

(Writing by Diana Mandiá, editing by Kate Entringer)

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