European stocks edge lower; corporate earnings start flooding in By

© Reuters. – European stock markets traded with small losses Tuesday, as investors cautiously await a raft of corporate earnings as well as more cues from the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.

At 03:40 ET (07:40 GMT), the index in Germany traded 0.3% lower, the in France dropped 0.3%, while the in the U.K. traded largely flat.

Earnings start to pour in

The quarterly earnings season is in full low in Europe, with Unilever (LON:) leading the way, its stock rising 5% after the British packaged goods company, which makesDove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, reported better-than-expected underlying quarterly sales growth after again raising prices to offset higher costs.

Remy Cointreau (EPA:) stock rose 4% after the spirits giant maker stuck to its forecasts for the full 2023/24 financial year, banking on a sharp rebound in sales in the U.S. from the third quarter after a disappointing first half.

LVMH (EPA:) and EssilorLuxottica (EPA:) are also due to report later this season, and investors will be looking for what these major companies say about their earnings outlook given markets are increasingly priced for a “soft-landing” slowdown in both growth and inflation.

French defence electronics and cybersecurity company Thales (EPA:) stock fell 1.6% after it agreed to buy U.S. cybersecurity company Imperva from Thoma Bravo, a software investor company, in a deal worth $3.6 billion.

It’s also a big day for corporate earnings in the U.S., with numbers due from the likes of Microsoft (NASDAQ:), Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:), General Electric (NYSE:), Visa (NYSE:), General Motors (NYSE:), 3M Company (NYSE:) and chipmaker Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:).

Fed starts two-day policy meeting

Still, investors will be wary of getting too involved with the set to start its latest policy-setting meeting later in the session, ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.

The Fed is largely expected to raise rates another quarter of a percentage point, but investors will be listening to what Chair Jerome Powell says during his press conference for clues to the direction of future rate policy.

The also meets later this week, and similarly the focus will be on President ’s comments given the central bank is widely expected to hike once more.

Ahead of this, the widely-watched is due for release, along with the Eurozone bank lending survey, which can provide a view on the health of borrowing in the region.

Oil prices just below three-month highs

Oil prices stabilized just below three-month highs on optimism of further Chinese stimulus amid signs of tight supplies ahead of the Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting.

The focus will also be on U.S. inventory data, with industry data from the due later Tuesday followed on Wednesday by the official numbers from the .

Stockpiles are expected to have fallen by over 2 million barrels in the week to July 21, indicating steady demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.

By 03:40 ET, the futures traded 0.1% lower at $78.69 a barrel, while the contract dropped 0.2% to $82.35.

Both benchmarks rose over 2% in the previous session, closing at the highest level since April.

Additionally, rose 0.1% to $1,963.05/oz, while traded 0.1% higher at 1.1077.

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