The Paris stock exchange ended the day 0.69% higher at 8,131 points, recording a 4th consecutive session of gains, helped by the performance of Schneider Electric (+2.2%), closely followed by Veolia, Axa and Pernod Ricard (+2% each).

On the anniversary of May 8, 1945, the trading session was rather quiet, although 2.8 billion euros were traded over the course of the day - a very modest volume in normal times, but quite significant for a public holiday.

It's worth noting that, as is often the case, trading volumes picked up in the final moments - in this case, they almost doubled in the last few minutes of trading.

While the markets are still in a state of uncertainty as to the timetable for central bank rate cuts, Swiss asset manager Pictet AM announced yesterday that it had upgraded its recommendation on European equities from 'neutral' to 'overweight', believing them to be increasingly attractive.

In its view, the re-acceleration in activity should enable companies to exceed consensus earnings forecasts this year.

Among the few indicators on the agenda, German industrial production fell by 0.4% in volume terms in March compared with the previous month, according to Destatis seasonally and calendar adjusted data.

The further contraction in March serves as a reminder that the German economy is still struggling", says the London office, which believes that "industrial production will increase slightly again over the course of the year, but will remain moderate by past standards".

Still on the statistics front, data published by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) showed that US crude oil inventories stood at 459.5 million barrels in the week to April 29, down 1.4 million barrels on the previous week's level.

Finally, US wholesale inventories continued to decline in March, falling by 0.4%, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Commerce Department.
In February, wholesale inventories had already fallen by 0.4%.

On the bond front, yields continued to ease in both the US and Europe, with the yield on US ten-year Treasuries returning to 4.48%, while the German Bund climbed slightly to 2.46%

In French company news, Alstom announced a strong rebound in the second half of the year, with solid order intake, strong organic growth, improved profitability and free cash flow generation of 562 million euros.

Michelin announces a euro-denominated bond issue for a total amount of one billion euros in two tranches of seven and 12 years, with coupons of 3.125% and 3.375% respectively

Finally, TotalEnergies announces the start of production at the Eldfisk North project in the North Sea, ahead of schedule thanks to effective cooperation between the various partners. The project will produce 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day at the plateau, and uses the available capacity of Eldfisk's facilities for processing and transporting hydrocarbons.

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