On the financial markets, macroeconomics provides the backdrop, while corporate performance provides the relief. The two levels regularly meet and interact with each other, but corporate figures generally provide a broader palette of emotions. Particularly when macroeconomic trends are the subject of a fairly broad consensus, as is currently the case: the telltale investor believes that growth will accelerate again and that monetary policy will not hinder the economy or equities.

So there's a bit of a lull in earnings news, which has been filled by the flamboyant IPOs of Reddit or Astera Labs, or the fever around SPAC Digital World, which is going to merge with Donald Trump's social network. The fact that the market is focusing on highly speculative assets is perhaps a sign that financiers are bored. Or that the hot topics are much more boring, such as the questions mounting around Washington's finances, after the publication of a report by the Congressional Budget Office, which warns of an explosion in the deficit and debt in the coming years.

On the equity markets, news agencies this week speak of a "breather" or "pause". A bearish pause on Wall Street yesterday, with declines of 0.3% to 0.4% for the three main indices, and a bullish pause for the DAX and STOXX Europe 600. The end of March is not encouraging investors to take action, especially as the week will be shortened by a public holiday, as many financial markets will be closed on Friday, including Paris, Zurich, London and Frankfurt. The New York Stock Exchange will also be closed, although two major events are scheduled: a speech by Jerome Powell and the publication of PCE inflation figures on Friday.

We'll be keeping a close eye on oil, which is firmly entrenched on its highs for the year ahead of OPEC's next announcement. But the most talked-about commodity at the moment is cocoa, which continues to soar due to a supply crisis. This is bad news for lovers of chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs.

In the Asia-Pacific region, there's something for everyone: very moderate falls in Japan and India, slightly sharper declines in Taiwan and Australia. Significant rebounds in Hong Kong and South Korea, and more modest gains in Shanghai. A bit mixed, in any case, with no clear guidelines. European and US indexes are looking up.

Today's economic highlights:

Durable goods orders, the FHFA house price index,  the Richmond Fed and Conference Board indexes are on the agenda

The dollar is down 0.1% to EUR 0.9214 and GBP 0.7911. The ounce of gold is trading at USD 2,190. Oil stabilizes, with North Sea Brent at USD 86.2 a barrel and US light crude WTI at USD 82.0. The yield on 10-year US debt stands at 4.24%. Bitcoin is trading at USD 70,400.

In corporate news:

  • Tesla will offer its US customers a free one-month trial of its FSD (Full Self-Driving) driver assistance system, the group's CEO Elon Musk said on Monday, against a backdrop of falling demand and intensifying competition.
  • United Parcel Service on Tuesday forecast consolidated sales for 2026 of between $108 and $114 billion, against analysts' LSEG consensus forecast of €102.12 billion. The share price advanced by 2.8% in pre-market trading.
  • Krispy Kreme - The doughnut chain is up 22% in pre-market trading after announcing the extension of its partnership with McDonald's to supply the fast-food giant's US restaurants with the brand's doughnuts.
  • Ford - On Tuesday, the automaker reaffirmed its annual profit outlook of between $10 and $12 billion.
  • Citigroup is in the final phase of a major overhaul aimed at simplifying its structure and improving performance, the bank said, after cutting its workforce by 5,000 since September.
  • Dell Technologies announced on Monday evening its intention to cut jobs as part of a cost-cutting initiative. The IT group, which employs some 120,000 people worldwide, will reduce external recruitment and reorganize its workforce. The share price gains 1.1% in pre-market trading.
  • Blackrock - The CEO of the world's leading asset manager, Larry Fink, urged the US government and the private sector to ensure that Americans have enough money for their retirement, and said the group would launch a product next month to address the issue.
  • Buzzfeed - Declines 8.3% in pre-market trading, as the news site reports fourth-quarter sales down 26% year-on-year and forecasts a 20% to 23% decline in revenues for the current quarter compared with the first quarter of 2023.
  • McCormick - The American spice manufacturer exceeded expectations on Tuesday for first-quarter sales and earnings, thanks in particular to stable volumes and higher prices. Share price up 5% in pre-market trading.

Analyst recommendations:

  • Nasdaq, Inc.: Goldman Sachs upgrades to buy from neutral with a price target raised from USD 61 to USD 73.
  • Seagate Technology Holdings Plc: Morgan Stanley upgrades to overwt from equalwt with a price target raised from USD 73 to USD 115.
  • Stellantis N.v.: Berenberg downgrades to hold from buy with a price target raised from 21 to EUR 29.
  • The Clorox Company: Jefferies downgrades to hold from underperform with a target price of USD 145.
  • Ulta Beauty, Inc.: Baptista Research downgrades to hold from outperform with a price target raised from USD 569.30 to USD 594.
  • Hca Healthcare, Inc.: Wolfe Research maintains its outperform rating and raises the target price from USD 250 to USD 357.
  • Bellway P.l.c.: Numis upgrades to add from buy with a target price of GBX 3000.
  • Dr. Martens Plc: Goldman Sachs downgrades to sell from neutral with a price target reduced from GBX 93 to GBX 87.
  • Hsbc Holdings Plc: Autonomous Research downgrades to neutral from outperform with a price target reduced from GBP 8.17 to GBP 7.03.
  • Mobico Group Plc: RBC Capital downgrades to sector perform from outperform with a price target reduced from GBX 110 to GBX 80.
  • Standard Chartered Plc: Autonomous Research upgrades to outperform from neutral with a price target raised from GBP 6.98 to GBP 8.21.