Last week, the atmosphere calmed down a bit, with the exception of markets rich in technology stocks. In the United States, the Dow Jones contracted by 0.1%, while the Nasdaq 100 gained a further 2%. In Europe, the DAX gained 1.8%, while the CAC40 and FTSE 100 fell slightly. At the close, Nvidia surpassed the $2,000 billion market capitalization mark with a 4% jump. Investors still find it hard to get a global view of the impact of artificial intelligence on listed companies, but they're sure that the graphics card manufacturer will be the big winner. As a result, they're buying the stock and its satellites, of which there aren't that many. One of these is Super Micro Computer, which in just a few months has gone from being a beleaguered hardware reseller to a supplier of AI-optimized hardware. The company will enter the S&P500 when it recasts on March 18. It is now worth over $50 billion on the stock market, compared with less than $1 billion four years ago.

There are a number of important macroeconomic events this week. The 14th National People's Congress kicks off in Beijing. Will China turn the tables by announcing shock measures to revive a lagging economy? Rumors are rife, but well-informed sources believe that Xi Jinping has no intention of embarking on a Western-style stimulus plan. At least, that's the headline in this morning's Financial Times, which reads "Chinese President Xi Jinping to resist market pressure to step up stimulus". All bets are off.

A speech from Jerome Powell is also due this week, although the next Fed meeting is not due until March 19-20. This week, Powell will present the economic and monetary situation to congressmen as part of his regular appearances. Two sessions are scheduled, on Wednesday and Thursday. These hearings are an opportunity for the Fed boss to get his message across. Economists expect him to maintain the guideline that there is no urgency to move rates. It is worth noting, however, that the series of mediocre economic indicators released in the US on Friday slightly strengthened the case for earlier monetary easing than the Fed predicts. The dollar weakened and US bond yields fell.

The same goes for the European Central Bank's rate decision on Thursday, which is widely expected to keep rates unchanged. Financial analysts expect the central bank to make its first rate cut of the cycle in July. They will refine their predictions with Christine Lagarde's speech.

In other news, OPEC extended its reduced production quotas until the end of the second quarter of 2024, in line with market expectations. This did not prevent crude oil prices from bouncing back a little, with WTI once again nearing USD 80 a barrel.

Donald Trump continued his winning streak in the latest Republican nominations. He is in a stronger position than ever for tomorrow's Super Tuesday, which will bring together the primary votes from 15 states. It would be highly unlikely that Nikki Haley's candidacy would survive another Trumpist wave.

The British-flagged ship Rubymar, attacked in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels last month, sank with some 21,000 tons of fertilizer on board, causing pollution in the Red Sea and illustrating the continuing risks to shipping in the region.

On the corporate agenda this week, CrowdStrike, Costco, Oracle, Henkel, Bayer, Thales and a few others will close the march, while nine-tenths of the world's companies have already published their latest results.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the week got off to a slightly mixed start. Japan's Nikkei 225 surpassed the symbolic 40,000-point mark with a closing gain of 0.5%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng ended flat. In South Korea and Taiwan, the semiconductor craze is sending indices up by more than 1% this morning. Australia and India got off to a lackluster start to the week, with Sydney down and Mumbai up. Leading indicators are mostly in the red in Europe, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.1% and the FTSE 100 down 0.6%. Futures on Wall Street are subdued – the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slipped 0.3%, S&P 500 futures declined 0.1%, and Nasdaq futures were flat.

Today's economic highlights:

There are no major indicators today.

The dollar is worth EUR 0.9221 and GBP 0.7890. The ounce of gold rises to USD 2,082, while oil remains high, with Brent North Sea crude at 83.09 a barrel and WTI US light crude at USD 79.55. The yield on 10-year US debt falls to 4.19%. Bitcoin is trading at USD 65,500.

In corporate news:

  • Nvidia - The group's market capitalization exceeded $2,000 billion at Friday's close. The stock gained 1.4% before the opening, while MICRON gained 1.9% and INTEL 1%.
  • Macy’s - Arkhouse Management announced on Sunday that it and Brigade Capital Management had increased their offer to buy Macy's. The buyers are now proposing to acquire the Macy's shares they do not already own for $24 per share, some 14% more than their previous offer of $21 per share, valuing the company at $6.6 billion. The stock gained 11.6% before the opening.
  • New York Community Bancorp - Moody's announced on Friday that it had lowered New York Community Bancorp's long-term issuer rating from Ba2 to B3. Fitch Ratings lowered the bank's rating to "BB+" from "BBB-".
  • Super Micro Computer will join the S&P 500 with DECKERS OUTDOOR on Monday March 18. Super Micro gains 14.7% before opening, Deckers 5.3%. ZIONS BANCORPORATION will leave the index on that date, falling by 2.3%.
  • Vista Outdoor said on Monday that it had rejected a $2.9 billion buyout offer from investment firm MNC Capital.

Analyst recommendations:

  • Altria Group, Inc.: Baptista Research downgrades to hold from outperform with a price target reduced from USD 49.50 to USD 45.
  • Doordash, Inc.: RBC Capital upgrades to outperform from sector perform with a price target raised from USD 130 to USD 175.
  • Fleetcor Technologies, Inc.: Baird upgrades to outperform from neutral with a price target raised from USD 325 to USD 330.
  • Healthpeak Properties, Inc.: JP Morgan upgrades to neutral from rating suspended with a target price of USD 19.
  • Merck & Co., Inc.: Baptista Research downgrades to underperform from outperform with a price target raised from USD 120.80 to USD 133.20.
  • Nxp Semiconductors N.v.: AlphaValue/Baader Europe downgrades to reduce from add with a price target reduced from USD 273 to USD 272.
  • Udr Inc.: Wells Fargo upgrades to overweight from equalweight with a price target raised from USD 34 to USD 39.
  • Crowdstrike Holdings, Inc.: Wells Fargo maintains its overweight recommendation and raises the target price from USD 315 to USD 380.
  • Eli Lilly And Company: HSBC maintains its buy recommendation and raises the target price from USD 710 to USD 880.
  • General Electric Company: JP Morgan maintains a neutral recommendation with a price target raised from USD 134 to USD 166.
  • Micron Technology, Inc.: Aletheia Capital Limited maintains its buy recommendation and raises the target price from USD 86 to USD 120.
  • Walmart Inc.: KeyBanc Capital Markets maintains its overweight recommendation and reduces the target price from USD 190 to USD 63.33.
  • Walt Disney Company (The): Morgan Stanley maintains its overweight rating and raises the target price from USD 110 to USD 135.
  • BP Plc: Jefferies upgrades to buy from hold with a price target raised from GBP 5.20 to GBP 5.70.
  • BT Group Plc: Berenberg upgrades to buy from hold with a target price of GBP 1.35.
  • Bunzl Plc: Stifel downgrades to sell from hold and reduces the target price from GBX 3050 to GBX 2950.
  • Fresnillo Plc: Morgan Stanley upgrades to equalwt from underwt with a target price of GBX 480.
  • Gsk Plc: Guggenheim upgrades to buy from neutral with a target price of GBX 2031.
  • Halma Plc: Shore Capital downgrades to hold from buy with a price target raised from GBX 2150 to GBX 2250.
  • Pearson Plc: AlphaValue/Baader Europe upgrades to add from buy with a target price of GBX 1269.
  • Segro Plc: Goldman Sachs upgrades to neutral from sell with a price target raised from GBX 780 to GBX 820.
  • First Quantum Minerals Ltd.: RBC Capital upgrades to outperform from sector perform with a price target raised from CAD 17 to CAD 18.