Wall Street ended lower on Tuesday, but not at the day's low, as solid PMI figures and a near +2% rise in oil prices raised doubts about the timing of a rate cut by the FED (although over 60% of investors still expect a June easing).

The Dow Jones dropped 1% to 39,170, the S&P-500 -0.7% to 5,205 and the Nasdaq Composite gave up 0.95% to 16,240 (versus -1% at the day's low).240 (versus -1.5% at the day's low).

The Nasdaq was weighed down by Tesla -4.9% (1st drop in quarterly deliveries in 4 years), Sirius -3.7%, Illumina-3.2%, AMD -2.5%, KLA -2.4%, Cisco -1.4%, Micron -1.3%, Nvidia -1% and Intel (-1.3% but -4.3% after the close with the revelation of a -$7 billion operating loss on its 'chip' foundry activity).

A few stocks held up well, notably oil companies (a barrel of oil set a new annual record at $85.55) with Marathon +3.5%, Valero +2.7%, Exxon +2%, EOG +1.9%, Conoco +1.6%, Occidental +1.3%.
Heavy fall in airlines and cruise lines, DR Horton -3.9%, Pulte -3.6%, Beazer Homes -3.3%, Lennar -3.1%.

Wall Street was put under pressure by a sudden rise in interest rates: +3pts on US T-Bonds (4.3600% in the end), which flirted with 4.40%, a phenomenon that followed a 6-month high for oil, with a barrel of WTI topping $85.5 in New York.

On the statistics front, US factory orders recovered by 1.4% in February 2024 (after -3.8% in January), according to the Commerce Department.

US industrial shipments also rose by 1.4% in February compared with the previous month. Finally, with inventories up 0.3%, the inventory-to-delivery ratio fell from 1.49 to 1.47 month-on-month.

Markets will be paying close attention to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's speech on the economic outlook at a forum organized by Stanford University (California) on Wednesday.

A new episode of tension between Israel and Iran is also pushing up oil prices and safe-haven stocks following strikes by Tsahal on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, which left several people dead (a first in history: no consulate has ever been targeted and destroyed, even in wartime).

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