The Paris Bourse ended the session down 0.48%, at 8,161 points, penalized by the contraction of the luxury goods sector, with Kering down 11.9% and LVMH down 1.6%.

The CAC40 is undergoing - on its own - a consolidation that began in electronic trading on Tuesday evening, as soon as the (poor) results of Kering/Gucci were known.

The markets are awaiting the Fed's statement this evening, which will be closely scrutinized by investors as they try to estimate when the central bank will decide to cut rates.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will also be speaking at his traditional press conference.

Traders currently see a 60% probability that the Fed will cut rates in June, according to the CME Group's FedWatch barometer, but their optimism could be challenged after the meeting.

The median scenario should still point to three rate cuts in 2024, but only just," warn Bank of America strategists.

Many analysts believe that the Fed is being forced into inaction by the resilience of the US economy, which is accompanied by a reawakening of inflation.

Both the Fed and the ECB would like to see further disinflation before they start cutting rates", reminds Amaury d'Orsay, head of bond markets at Amundi.

"Given the recent trend in underlying US services inflation, it makes sense for them to be patient", continues the manager.

Traditionally, investors prefer not to take strong buy or sell positions ahead of Fed decisions, so as not to get caught up in the wrong direction.

Christine Lagarde, for her part, said on Wednesday that the main risk now would be to start cutting rates too late.

On the bond market, the yield on US ten-year Treasuries eased symbolically by -0.5Pt to 4.279%, ahead of the Fed's decisions.
The yield on German Bunds of the same maturity and on our OATs eased by -1.5Pt to 2.43% and 2.87% respectively.

Crude oil prices fell back slightly from the previous day's annual highs, pending the release of US crude inventories by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), scheduled for the afternoon.

With a -1.4% decline to $86, the price of a barrel of Brent crude seems to be reacting downwards after testing resistance at $87.
Note that in the afternoon, data published by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) showed that US crude oil inventories stood at 445 million barrels in the week to March 11, signaling a moderate decline of 2 million barrels on the previous week's level.

On the value side, Keringa warned last night that its sales would fall sharply in the first quarter, weighed down by the under-performance of its Gucci brand, a warning that sent its share price down nearly 13% and dragged the entire luxury goods sector in its wake.

Citing a "difficult" economic climate, the group said that its first-quarter sales would be down by around 10% on a like-for-like basis compared with last year.

Crédit Agricole and Worldline announce the creation of their joint venture in the field of electronic payment services for merchants in France. The two groups have received unconditional approval from the European Commission.

Virbac reports sales of 1247 ME for the 2023 financial year, up 2.5% on 2022 and +4.9% on a like-for-like basis.

Operating income before non-recurring items stands at 185 ME (+1.1%), while net income, Group share is virtually stable at 121.3 ME (vs. 121.9 ME in 2022).

Alstom announces that it has won a maintenance contract from VR Sverige AB - the new operator for X-trafik in the Gävleborg region (Sweden).

Finally, on Wednesday, Thales unveiled the world's first solar-powered air traffic control radar station, a project carried out in collaboration with the Chilean Civil Aviation Authority.

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