The Coming Week in Europe: Earnings Roll In, Bank of England Sets Rates

Adidas-Salomon and Hoechst are among the half-year results expected.
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The Balkans stability pact world leaders agreed to in Sarajevo on Friday may dramatically alter the economic and political future of Europe. But that won't matter much next week as the Continent's summer doldrums continue to envelop financial markets.

Nearly 30 heads of state pledged cash, credit and humanitarian support, which will immediately start alleviating suffering in the Balkans. Tangible economic results, however, won't be realistically measured in weeks or months, although years might be the appropriate increment. That's not quickly enough to get traders' pulses racing.

The corporate world may, however, provide more pressing material as a slew of heavyweights release their earnings in the coming week.

German sportswear giant

Adidas-Salomon

(ADDDY:Nasdaq) leads the pack, presenting first-half earnings in Munich at an international sporting goods convention on Monday.

German chemicals and pharmaceuticals concern

Hoechst

(HOE)

releases what will be its last solo half-year report on Wednesday following the completion of its merger with France's

Rhone-Poulenc

(RP) - Get Report

. Another better-living-through-chemicals company,

BASF

(BASFY:Nasdaq), will release its mid-year results Thursday and the Dutch company that likely made your laundry detergent,

Unilever

(UN) - Get Report

, will report earnings on Friday in Rotterdam.

Her Majesty's Interest Rates

Wednesday will see the

Bank of England

's top bankers shutter themselves away from the world for two days to discuss the state of monetary policy in the United Kingdom. The central bank will likely hold interest rates steady as a rising pound is expected to offset speeding growth, which racked up 0.5% expansion in the second quarter.

"There will be no expectation of lower interest rates against this economic backdrop and given what the past week's data have been doing to sterling, no chance of higher rates either," says Alison Cottrell, senior international economist at

PaineWebber International

. The pound rose as high as $1.6244 -- its highest level since May -- after the GDP report on Friday.

The Bank of England has hacked the benchmark interest rate 2.5 percentage points in just 10 months, but left rates at 5% -- its lowest in over twenty years -- earlier in July.

On the other side of the Channel, German unemployment figures for July will be released on Thursday at the

Federal Labor Office

in Nuremberg. Spain will also release July unemployment figures sometime during the week. Trends are likely to remain intact, with German unemployment stagnating at over 10% and the Spanish joblessness rate continuing its decline from the upper teens.