The Week Ahead: ECB meeting, Unilever and Vodafone results

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The ECB is meeting on Thursday and analysts hope lower inflation might push president Mario Draghi and his committee to start reducing asset buying. This week consumer giant Unilever will also release its latest numbers.

Tuesday 18 July

  • Rio Tinto (Q2 results)

The Share Centre investment research analyst Ian Forrest says: “The Q1 trading update was a bit of a disappointment as production of copper fell short of market expectations, partly down to uncontrollable weather factors.

“However, Rio Tinto’s key commodity, iron ore saw better operational performance numbers and there is some expectation that this will follow through into the latest quarter. Investors would expect more progress on cost reductions, but a pullback in commodity prices during the second quarter will hurt revenues.”

  • UK inflation, June – Office for National Statistics

Wednesday 19 July

  • RPC (Q1 results)

Thursday 20 July

  • EasyJet (Q3 results)
  • Unilever (Q2 results)

Forrest says: “It’s certainly been an interesting year so far for Unilever with the Kraft Heinz takeover bid in February and the announcement of a significant new growth strategy shortly afterwards.

“The first quarter trading update in April beat expectations, with sales helped by the weak pound. At that point the group said it expected sales growth for the year to be in the 3 per cent-5 per cent range so any update on that will certainly be of interest.”

  • Governing Council of the European Central Bank: monetary policy meeting in Frankfurt – European Central Bank

Forrest says: “Recently, the President of the ECB, Mario Draghi, appeared to suggest that the ECB may soon begin the process of tapering QE, only for a spokesman to then say that Draghi had been misunderstood.

“But with euro inflation falling sharply in the last two months, and with more members of the Bank of England’s MPC voting for a hike in interest rates, will the ECB portray a slightly more hawk-like stance, today?”

Friday 21 July

  • Vodafone (Q1 trading update)

Forrest says: “Investors will be looking for news on the performance of key markets such as India. There has also been some speculation in the media recently about job cuts in Vodafone’s German operations so any comments on that will also be of interest.”