European stocks are set to open modestly weaker Monday as investors kick off one of the busiest weeks of the quarterly earnings season amid questions over the European Central Bank's next policy move and the ongoing turmoil surrounding the administration of President Donald Trump.
Britain's FTSE 100 is likely to fall around 0.22% at the start of trading, according to financial bookmakers IG, as a stronger pound sterling holds down gains for the internationally-focused benchmark.
The pound edged past the 1.30 mark against a weaker U.S. dollar in overnight trading while the euro stuck to its highest levels in two years as it changed hands at 1.1670 in the wake of ECB President Mario Draghi's rate-setting press conference last week.
The U.S. dollar remained pinned to 13-month lows in overnight trading amid ongoing concern that Trump's White House will struggle to extract itself from the myriad allegations linked to Russian meddling in the 2016 election and therefore push policy objectives further into the future. The dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a basket of six global currencies, was marked 0.05% higher at 93.90 at the start of European trading.
Monday's slate of releases includes the first look at economic activity around the currency area for the month of July from IHS Markit, which publishes its flash PMI readings for France, Germany and the broader Eurozone starting at 08:00 London time.
Consumer brands group Reckitt Benckiser and discount carrier Ryanair Holdings will publish first half and quarterly earnings Monday in a week that includes releases from Nestle SA (NSRGY) Bayer AG (BAYRY) , BAT plc (BTI) , Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS.A) , Astra Zeneca plc (AZN) and Lloyds Banking Group plc (LYG) .
Global oil prices edged higher overnight ahead of Monday's meeting of OPEC members in St. Petersburg amid speculation that a cap on output could be added to Libya and Nigeria, both of which are currently exempt from the cartel's 1.8 million barrel-per-day production cuts.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures for September delivery were marked little-changed from their Friday close at $45.77 while Brent contracts for the same month, the global benchmark, were seen 3 cents per barrel higher at $48.09 after falling 2.5% in the Friday session.
Early indications from U.S. equity futures point to a pull back on Wall Street at the opening bell, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average set to slip around 0.1% while the broader S&P 500 gives back 0.13% and the Nasdaq falls 0.15%.
This week's U.S. earnings calendar will be the busiest of the quarter, with numbers from Alphabet (GOOG) (GOOGL) , Facebook (FB) , and Amazon.com (AMZN) as we as automakers General Motors (GM) and Ford Motor (F) and retail bellwethers McDonalds (MCD) and Starbucks (SBUX) .
The first estimate of economic growth from April to June will be released on Friday. FactSet estimates are predicting second-quarter GDP growth of 2.4%, after a reading of 2.1% in the first quarter, as economists expect the troubles in Washington to eat away at consumer confidence.
Additionally, the Federal Reserve will make its monetary policy announcement on Wednesday. Economists don't expect the central bank to make a change to interest rates, though investors will comb through the statement to discern when the Fed could begin to unwind its balance sheet.
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