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European stocks edge lower; Philips shines on proposed litigation deal

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets edged lower Monday, with investors cautious at the start of a week that includes key economic releases as well as earnings from the region’s top lenders and big tech companies on Wall Street.

At 03:35 ET (07:35 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.2% lower, the CAC 40 in France dropped 0.3%, and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. fell 0.1%.

The earnings season kicks into top gear this week, with the tech giants Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) all due to report. This will be a key test for markets with investors on the lookout to see if strong gains in the tech sector so far this year are justified.

Some big-name European banks are also due to report earnings in the coming week, including UBS (SIX:UBSG), Deutsche Bank (ETR:DBKGn), Santander (BME:SAN) and Barclays (LON:BARC).

The results are coming after what was a very turbulent first quarter for banks following the collapse of two regional U.S. lenders last month.

Credit Suisse (SIX:CSGN) started the ball rolling Monday, stating that it had CHF 61 billion ($68 billion) in net asset outflows in the first quarter, adding that outflows were continuing even in the wake of the lender’s acquisition by rival UBS.

Elsewhere, Philips (AS:PHG) stock soared over 10% as investors reacted positively to the Dutch health technology company booking a $630 million provision as part of a planned settlement in the U.S. over the recall of millions of devices that treat sleep apnea, with CEO Roy Jakobs calling this an "important step in addressing the litigation."

On the economic data front, the Eurozone is set to release advance data on first quarter GDP on Friday, while April inflation reports from the region’s largest economies Germany, France and Spain are due out the same day.

The European Central Bank is widely expected to lift interest rates again in early May, with most analysts expecting a 25-basis point hike, although a larger increase has not been ruled out with inflation proving to be persistent.

Monday sees the widely-watched German Ifo business climate index, which is expected to show a slight improvement in corporate confidence in the Eurozone’s largest economy.

Oil prices slumped Monday, trading close to a five-week low on concerns that rising interest rates will result in slowing economic growth, particularly in the U.S. economy, the largest consumer of crude in the world.

By 03:35 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1% lower at $77.06 a barrel, while the Brent contract dropped 1% to $80.61.

Crude markets saw their first weekly loss in five weeks last week, with prices once again close to falling below the $80 a barrel level.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,992.25/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.0983.

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