Earnings season peaks while ECB and Israel set interest rates

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Hello and welcome to the working week.

The next seven days will (again) be dominated by uncertain events — most prominently the Israel-Hamas conflict and the US House Speaker debacle, as well as the fallout from Argentina’s elections.

However, there will be plenty to keep the FT’s corporate and economic correspondents busy too as the earnings season peaks, the European Central Bank’s rate-setters meet in Athens (on their annual EU getaway from Frankfurt) and official statistical bodies produce a clutch of key numbers, including a first stab at US third-quarter GDP (forecast to have picked up to 4 per cent quarter on quarter) and the delayed UK labour market statistics.

The ECB’s Monetary Policy Committee members are expected to vote to hold rates, not least because of the uncertainty created by the Israel-Gaza conflict and its impact on oil prices, as Greece’s central bank governor Yannis Stournaras told the FT last week.

Normally, Israel’s rate-setting committee meetings would not register on our news radar, but the Middle East conflict changes that. Bets against the shekel have made it highly likely the Bank of Israel will announce on Monday that it is holding rates at 4.75 per cent.

If monetary policy more generally interests you, sign up to the new central banks newsletter (a premium subscriber offer) written by FT economics commentator Chris Giles. FT subscribers can also register here for a one-off webinar on the lessons from the battle against inflation, airing this Wednesday from 1pm UK time.

We have various results from the US, Europe and beyond — with highlights below. But the driving force behind the earnings bulge this week is the arrival en masse of corporate America, and none more notable than the Big Tech crowd, Alphabet, Amazon.com, Meta and Microsoft.

The hot topic here is generative AI — something I’ve even written about myself (shameless plug) in relation to management education. Investors want to know whether it’s having any impact on revenue growth for the companies behind it.

Microsoft was an early adopter here, with its multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI earlier this year, so analysts will be seeking signs of fruitfulness from this when the company reveals its first-quarter results on Tuesday. The company reported a percentage point of growth from AI in the previous quarter and has forecast 2 percentage points for the most recent three months.

The London markets includes several companies dependent on good sales and the right kind of weather. The UK’s summer washout may have helped airlines, but then came the National Air Traffic Services fiasco. The results of this, and higher fuel costs, will probably be reflected in the results of British Airways owner IAG, out on Friday.

What is important for your work diary this week? Email me at jonathan.moules@ft.com or, if you have received this in your inbox, hit reply.

One more thing . . . 

Well, actually a couple of things. If you’re in the UK, remember to put your clocks back next Sunday. Also, I am taking a short break (more a switch of roles to drum beater while my sons revise for mock GCSE and A Level exams) so my colleague David Hindley will be in the Week Ahead chair next time.

Key economic and company reports

Here is a more complete list of what to expect in terms of company reports and economic data this week.

Monday

  • China: Chung Yeung Festival. Financial markets closed.

  • EU: eurozone October consumer confidence index

  • Israel: Interest rate announcement

  • Tim Wentworth becomes chief executive of Walgreens Boots Alliance. The pharmacy group’s former CEO abruptly stepped down last month

  • Results: Philips Q3

Tuesday

  • IEA World Energy Outlook report

  • Canada, EU, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, US: S&P Global/Cips flash October purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for manufacturing and services.

  • UK: October labour market figures (delayed from last week). Also, new national and London Living Wage rates for 2023-24 to be announced.

  • Results: Anglo American Q3 production report, Alphabet Q3, Archer-Daniels-Midland Q3, ASM International Q3, Barclays Q3, Brown & Brown Q3, Bunzl Q3 trading statement, Coca-Cola Company Q3, Corning Q3, Dow Q3, General Electric Q3, General Motors Q3, Halliburton Q3, Hermès Q3, Hydro Q3, Kimberly-Clark Q3, Michelin Q3, Microsoft Q1, Novartis Q3, Puma Q3, Randstad Q3, Shimano Q3, Snap Q3, Spotify Q3, 3M Q3, Travis Perkins Q3 trading update, UniCredit Q3, Verizon Communications Q3, Visa Q4, Zegna Q3

Wednesday

  • Canada: Interest rate decision

  • Germany: Ifo Business Climate Index

  • US: New home sales

  • Results: Akzo Nobel Q3, Alfa-Laval Q3, Asos FY, Boeing Q3, Carrefour Q3, Cazoo Q3, Chubb Q3, Dassault Systèmes Q3, Deutsche Bank Q3, Fresnillo Q3 production report, Heineken Q3, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Q3, IBM Q3, Lloyds Banking Group Q3 management statement, Kering Q3, Mattel Q3, Meta Q3, Moody’s Q3, Porsche Q3, Reckitt Benckiser Q3, RWS FY trading statement, Santander Q3, SEB Q3, UMC Q3, Western Union Q3, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Q3

Thursday

  • Bank of England deputy governor Jon Cunliffe to speak at Economics of Payments conference in Washington

  • EU: European Central Bank monthly interest rate decision

  • US: Flash Q3 GDP data

  • Results: Accor Q3, Amazon.com Q3, Bank of Ireland Q3 trading update, Bloomsbury Publishing H1, BNP Paribas Q3, Bristol Myers Squibb Q3, Capital One Q3, Comcast Q3, Danone Q3, Ford Motor Company Q3, Fujitsu H1, Harley-Davidson Q3, Hasbro Q3, Heathrow Q3, HelloFresh Q3, Hershey Q3, SK Hynix Q3, Inchcape Q3 trading statement, Intel Q3, Juniper Networks Q3, Kerry Group Q3, Mastercard Q3, Mercedes-Benz Q3, Merck Q3, Northrop Grumman Q3, Reliance Steel & Aluminum Q3, Royal Caribbean Q3, Sodexo FY, Southwest Airlines Q3, Standard Chartered Q3, STMicroelectronics Q3, Unilever Q3, United Parcel Service Q3, Universal Health Services Q3, Universal Music Group Q3, Vinci Q3, Volkswagen Q3, Volvo Q3, Whirlpool Q3, Willis Towers Watson Q3, WPP Q3 trading update

Friday

  • First anniversary of Elon Musk completing the acquisition of the social media platform Twitter, renamed X in July this year

  • Japan: October trade figures

  • Russia: interest rate decision

  • UK: Public sector debt and deficit

  • US: University of Michigan consumer confidence index

  • Results: Air France-KLM Q3, Aker BP Q3, Aon Q3, AutoNation Q3, Chevron Q3, Colgate-Palmolive Q3, Danske Bank Q3, Electrolux Q3, Eni Q3, EquinorQ3, ExxonMobil Q3, Holcim Q3, Hitachi Q2, IAG Q3, NatWest Group Q3, Nomura Q2, Rémy Cointreau H1, Stanley Black & Decker Q3, T Rowe Price Q3

World events

Finally, here is a rundown of other events and milestones this week.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • UK: first anniversary of Rishi Sunak becoming British prime minister after the resignation of Liz Truss

  • US: President Joe Biden hosts Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese at the White House

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

  • France: South Africa take on New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final in Paris

  • Japan: G7 trade ministers meeting in Osaka, attended by ministers of the member nations

Sunday

  • Turkey: Centenary of the Republic of Turkey being proclaimed, with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk becoming its first president, a year after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. In Turkey, the anniversary is celebrated annually as Republic Day

  • UK: Daylight Saving Time ends

Finally, if you want to keep updated on the unfolding conflict in Israel and Gaza, sign up to the FT’s WhatsApp Channel and receive daily briefings direct to your phone.

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