PARIS (Reuters) – The main European stock markets are moving down slightly on Wednesday the day after stronger statements from the Chairman of the Federal Reserve on US rates.

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In Paris, the CAC 40 lost 0.19% to 7,325.62 points around 09:05 GMT. In London, the FTSE 100 lost 0.25% and in Frankfurt, the Dax was almost stable (-0.04%).

The EuroStoxx 50 index is also unchanged, with a decline of 0.01%, the FTSEurofirst 300 gives up 0.1% and the Stoxx 600 0.2%.

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Equities are struggling to revive after Jerome Powell’s hearing on Tuesday in the US Senate during which he adopted a tone described by John Plassard at Mirabaud as “lucid and ‘hawkish'” on monetary policy.

Given the strength of the US economy, the Fed may have to raise interest rates more than expected, its chairman said, reigniting speculation of half-point hikes and the final level rates.

According to the real-time barometer FedWatch, the probability of a rate hike of half a point in two weeks is estimated at 70% against 30% on Monday.

Jerome Powell will be heard at 3:00 p.m. GMT in the House of Representatives this time, but investors are especially awaiting the publication on Friday of the monthly report from the US Department of Labor.

“What matters most is the number of job creations (…) If it is high, say 300,000 or more, then the market will be worried,” said Patrick Spencer, at RW Baird.

Economists polled by Reuters on average expect job creation to slow to 203,000.

In values, Thales lost 2.86%, JPMorgan analysts deeming the group’s results mixed, with in particular slightly light performance in the defense and aerospace sectors and margin forecasts for 2024 “unexciting”.

Casino sells 6%, the distribution group studying the possibility of reducing again its stake in the Brazilian supermarket chain Assaí.

In Frankfurt, Adidas fell 1.32% after saying it expected a sharp cut in the dividend and Continental climbed 4.37%, the equipment manufacturer anticipating an increase in its margins in 2023.

This performance enabled the Stoxx automobile index (+0.48%) to post the strongest growth.

Conversely, the chemicals sector lost 1.26%, penalized by the decline of Symrise (-3.18%) and Givaudan (2.93%), targeted by an international investigation into an alleged system of cartel on prices and abuse of a dominant position in the perfume sector.

(Laetitia Volga, edited by Blandine Hénault)

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