Quarterly figures and ECB interest rate decision spark great interest on stock markets

July 24, 2023  –AMSTERDAM – Investors are preparing for a week full of quarterly figures from a trio of listed companies. Healthcare technology group Philips, oil and gas group Shell and food company Unilever, among others, are opening the books. Investors are preparing for a week of quarterly results from a trio of listed companies. Among others, healthcare technology group Philips, oil and gas company Shell, and food group Unilever will present their books. A new interest rate decision by the European Central Bank (ECB) is also on the agenda on Thursday. 

At Philips, investors will be paying attention to the recall of millions of sleep apnea devices that the company has been working on for the past two years. The lion’s share of the total 5.5 million devices have now been replaced. Philips has set aside hundreds of millions of euros for the campaign. Just last week, the company reported that some 530 Americans had filed personal injury claims based on health complaints. When it presented its first-quarter results, about 400 cases were still involved. 

Shell already gave a small glimpse into its books back in early July when it provided a trading update. This showed that the oil and gas company produced less oil and gas in the second quarter than in the first three months of this year. Shell also stated that it expects gas trading revenues to be significantly lower than in the first quarter. This is partly due to seasonal effects. 

On the US stock exchanges this week, several major technology companies will also publish their figures for the second quarter. These include Microsoft, Google parent Alphabet, and the parent company of Facebook and Instagram Meta Platforms. The companies have recently made a big effort to develop artificial intelligence (AI) applications. For example, Microsoft integrated AI into its Bing search engine. Google then launched its own similar system called Bard. 

In addition to corporate figures, investors and analysts are also looking ahead to the ECB’s new interest rate decision. ECB President Christine Lagarde announced a month ago that interest rates would be raised further to combat high inflation. The June rate decision called for an increase of a quarter of a percentage point. Financial markets are once again expecting such a move. 

However, interest rate hikes have recently been criticized by several European countries. They would harm the economy and not really help fight inflation, according to critics. 

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