Central banks supporting the markets, the euro zone economy worries – March 21, 2024 at 3:11 p.m.

Paris (awp/afp) – Central bank meetings give momentum to the stock markets of the United States and the United Kingdom, but the latest data on the euro zone have cooled the indices of the European continent.

The day after the meeting of the American Central Bank, which was positively received by investors, Wall Street was still celebrating: the Nasdaq gained 0.79%, the S&P 500 by 0.54% and the Dow Jones by 0.50% around 1:50 p.m. GMT.

Markets were relieved that Fed officials were still committed to cutting interest rates three times in 2024, despite the latest data showing persistent inflation.

“It is obvious that the Fed is focusing more on the general trend towards disinflation,” describes Christophe Boucher, investment director of ABN Amro IS.

In Europe, London soared 1.81% after the Bank of England meeting. “Things are moving in the right direction,” said Governor Andrew Bailey on the sidelines of the decision to keep interest rates unchanged.

The Swiss Central Bank surprised the markets by opening the door to rate cuts for Western central banks, and the Zurich Stock Exchange gained 0.84%.

On the other hand, the mood was not as good in the euro zone: after a sharply higher opening, in the wake of the American markets, the indices turned around, particularly after the PMI leading activity indicators for March.

If the aggregate figures are in line, the data for the two main economies of the euro zone, Germany and France, were worse than expected. “The trend is far from encouraging for the future,” commented Norman Liebke, economist for the Hamburg Commercial Bank (HCOB), quoted in the press release from S&P Global, which carried out the study.

After setting a new session high in the morning, the Paris Stock Exchange was stable and that of Frankfurt only advanced 0.41%.

In Asia, Hong Kong jumped by 1.93%, and the flagship index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Nikkei, by 2.03%, ending on a new record, driven by the still accommodating posture of the Bank of Japan. after its meeting on Tuesday.

On the bond market, the interest rate on 10-year US bonds reached 4.26% around 1:30 p.m. GMT, easing compared to its level at the start of the week, to 4.32% at close on Monday.

ArGEN-X brings happiness ___

The Belgian-Dutch biotechnology company arGEN-X soared by more than 14% in Brussels on Thursday, after its Japanese competitor Chugai announced that it was disappointed with the performance of their research for the neuromuscular disease Myasthenia Graves. Argen-X's drug, Vyvgart, was authorized at the end of 2022 in the United States, where it generated more than a billion dollars in sales in 2023.

The Belgian Stock Exchange gained 2.51%.

New record for gold ___

The Fed's announcements propelled the price of gold to a new all-time high of more than $2,200 per ounce on Thursday, a surge encouraged by a parallel decline in the dollar. An ounce of gold was still worth $2,199.09 (+0.58%) around 1:30 p.m. GMT.

A drop in rates is favorable to gold which does not generate income because it makes other investments less attractive.

Oil prices hesitated: the price of a barrel of Brent from the North Sea, for delivery in May, dropped 0.24% to 85.74 dollars. Its American equivalent, the barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), for delivery the same month, which is the first day of use as a reference contract, lost 0.30% to 81.03 dollars.

The euro lost 0.24% against the dollar, to 1.0896 dollars per euro.

Bitcoin gained 0.51% to $67,420.

afp/rp

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