(News Bulletin 247) – The main European stock markets are up slightly this morning, Paris, Frankfurt and London grabbing nearly 0.2%.

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Earlier in the day, investors were surprised by the level of orders to German industry. Thwarting forecasts, these increased in January, testifying to the good resistance of Europe’s leading economy to the current slowdown in activity.

After having signed an increase of 3.4% in December (revised against +3.2% previously), industrial orders rose by 1% in seasonally adjusted data, according to data from Destatis, the federal office of the statistics, while the consensus predicted on the contrary a fall of around 0.9%.

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In a note of reaction, the economists of Commerzbank believe, however, that these better than expected figures are misleading and that we should not expect a real recovery in the sector.

“There is no recovery in activity in sight, which means that industrial production is likely to weaken over the coming months,” warns the German bank.

Markets are now awaiting Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech, scheduled for 4 p.m. PST before the House Financial Services Committee.

After the rather conciliatory declarations made by certain members of the institution, investors hope to be reassured as to the Fed’s intentions in terms of interest rates and the economic outlook.

Raphael Bostic, the president of the Atlanta Fed, reinforced the hopes of the markets last week by mentioning an imminent pause in the hikes of key rates if the process of disinflation were to continue.

On the interest rate market, yields on sovereign bonds are struggling to fall back, which tends to confirm the thesis that the rate hikes orchestrated by the major central banks are continuing at a rapid pace.

After initially falling sharply yesterday morning, the yield of the German Bund abruptly reversed steam to recover more than 10 percentage points to 2.74%.

In European company news, BAE Systems announced yesterday that the United States Marine Corps (USMC – US Marine Corps) has awarded it a $256.8 million contract for a third order of amphibious vehicles of combat (ACV).

Henkel announces that it generated operating income last year down 13.7% to 2.3 billion euros. On a per share basis, its annual profit stands at 3.90 euros, below the 3.92 euros targeted by the consensus.

Zalando reports that its number of active customers increased by 6% to more than 51 million last year and Zalando’s loyalty program Plus more than doubled its number of members to more than 2 million per year. compared to the previous year.

Finally, WPP acquired 3K Agentur für Kommunikation (3K), a German communications agency specializing in the healthcare sector, as part of its strategy to accelerate its growth.

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