Investing.com - European stock markets are expected to open slightly lower Tuesday, as investors cautiously await a raft of corporate earnings as well as more cues from the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. At 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.1% lower, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 0.1% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.1%. Earnings start to pour in It’s a big day for corporate earnings in the U.S., with numbers due from the likes of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), General Electric (NYSE:GE), Visa (NYSE:V), General Motors (NYSE:GM), 3M Company (NYSE:MMM) and chipmaker Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN). Back in Europe, Unilever (NYSE:UL), LVMH (EPA:LVMH) and EssilorLuxottica (EPA:ESLX) report during this season, and investors will be looking for what these major companies say about their earnings outlook given markets are increasingly priced for a "soft-landing" slowdown in both growth and inflation. Also, French defence electronics and cybersecurity company Thales (EPA:TCFP) has agreed to buy U.S. cybersecurity company Imperva from Thoma Bravo, a software investor company, in a deal worth $3.6 billion. Fed starts two-day policy meeting Still, investors will be wary of getting too involved with the Federal Reserve set to start its latest policy-setting meeting later in the session, ahead of Wednesday’s announcement. The Fed is largely expected to raise rates another quarter of a percentage point, but investors will be listening to what Chair Jerome Powell says during his press conference for clues to the direction of future rate policy. The European Central Bank also meets later this week, and similarly the focus will be on President Christine Lagarde’s comments given the central bank is widely expected to hike once more. Ahead of this, the widely-watched German Ifo business climate index is due for release, along with the Eurozone bank lending survey, which can provide a view on the health of borrowing in the region. Oil prices climb to three-month highs Oil prices edged higher Tuesday, climbing to three-month highs on optimism of further Chinese stimulus amid signs of tight supplies ahead of the Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting. The focus will also be on U.S. inventory data, with industry data from the American Petroleum Institute due later Tuesday followed on Wednesday by the official numbers from the Energy Information Administration. Stockpiles are expected to have fallen by over 2 million barrels in the week to July 21, indicating steady demand in the world’s largest oil consumer. By 02:00 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 0.3% higher at $78.94 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 0.2% to $82.63. Both benchmarks rose over 2% in the previous session, closing at the highest level since April. Additionally, gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,963.35/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.1073.
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