Wall Street is expected to fall on Monday, and the European stock markets are also in the red at mid-day, in a consolidation move in the absence of any macroeconomic catalyst for today's session. Defense stocks are limiting their downside potential, however, against a backdrop of geopolitical tensions two days after the attack on a Moscow suburb concert hall, as Russia attempts to incriminate Ukraine in the attack. Futures on New York indices point to a Wall Street opening down 0.15% for the Dow Jones, 0.34% for the Standard & Poor's 500 and 0.60% for the Nasdaq after a Friday session in which the S&P 500 made its biggest weekly gain since the start of the year. In Paris, the CAC 40 was down 0.49% at 8,112.27 points at around 12:10 GMT. In Frankfurt, the Dax gave up 0.01% and in London, the FTSE declined by 0.46%. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell by 0.30%, the Eurozone EuroStoxx 50 by 0.31% and the Stoxx 600 by 0.38%. After Citigroup, Goldman Sachs nevertheless raised its forecast for the Stoxx 600 on Monday, estimating that the index should climb another 6% to 540 points by the end of 2024. Most European indices hit record highs last week on hopes of a key rate cut in the coming months, in response to announcements from several central banks, including the US Federal Reserve (Fed), the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and the Bank of England (BoE). Speaking at an event in Rome, Bank of Italy Governor Fabio Panetta reaffirmed on Monday that the European Central Bank (ECB) was moving towards a rate cut, with inflation falling rapidly towards the 2% target. Philip Lane, the ECB's chief economist, said in a podcast broadcast on Monday that the Frankfurt-based institution was increasingly convinced that wage growth was slowing towards more normal levels, which could open the door to monetary easing. Investors expect the Fed, ECB and BoE to cut the cost of credit by a total of around 75 basis points by the end of the year. For today's session, there are no major indicators on the agenda, giving rise to a wait-and-see attitude and even to profit-taking, as inflation figures are due to be published later this week in several European countries and in the United States. SHARES TO WATCH ON WALL STREET Boeing gains 2.5% in pre-market trading following the announcement that its CEO Dave Calhoun will step down at the end of the year. Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) are down by more than 2% in pre-market trading, as China plans to progressively ban the use of US manufacturers' chips in government computers and servers, according to the Financial Times. VALUES IN EUROPE In Paris, Thales led the CAC 40 with a gain of 1.84%, while elsewhere in Europe, Sweden's Saab, Italy's Leonardo and Germany's Rheinmetall advanced by 1.97%, 2.77% and 2.76% respectively, against a backdrop of heightened geopolitical tensions. In corporate news, Dassault Aviation (+4.92%) was buoyed by BNP Paribas' "buy" recommendation. Carmat climbed 4.02% following the announcement of an agreement between the artificial heart manufacturer and its creditors. Music label Believe , which has asked Warner to submit a binding takeover offer by April 7, gained 5.94%. In London, Direct Line plunged 12.56%, with Belgian insurer Ageas (+1.91%) declaring that it had no intention of submitting a new offer to the British group, which had rejected two of its proposals. In Stockholm, property group SBB jumped 9.67% in response to the announcement that it would buy back its debt at a 60% discount. CURRENCIES The dollar retreated 0.17% against a basket of reference currencies, after a gain of almost 1% last week. The threat of monetary intervention by the Japanese authorities and the rise in the Chinese yuan, driven by the government in Beijing, are weighing on the US currency. The euro, which fell to a three-week low last week, rebounded by 0.21% to $1.0828. The pound sterling is trading at $1.2638 (+0.29%) after losing more than 1% last week. RATES The yield on the ten-year German Bund rebounded by 3.5 basis points to 2.364% after hitting a one-week low on Friday. The yield on US Treasuries of the same maturity rose by more than two points to 4.2395%. OIL The oil market benefited from geopolitical risks in Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East: Brent crude advanced by 0.40% to $85.77 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) by 0.43% to $80.98 a barrel. At Friday's close, the two oil benchmarks had gained 11% and around 12.5% respectively since the start of the year. NO MAJOR ECONOMIC INDICATORS ON THE MARCH 25 AGENDA (Written by Claude Chendjou, edited by Kate Entringer)