Miners and insurers help FTSE post small gains – Shell earnings beat expectations

<p>A reaffirming pledge of support for the US economic recovery through sustained low interest rates from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last night has helped to […]</p>

A reaffirming pledge of support for the US economic recovery through sustained low interest rates from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last night has helped to maintain UK equities in marginally positive territory along with earnings from Royal Dutch Shell and stronger metal prices.

Earnings from Europe’s largest oil firm Shell beat expectations today helping to push the energy firms share price higher by near 1%. Shell announced net income excluding one off items for the first quarter of $6.3bn, which was slightly higher than the $6.2bn forecast by market analysts with the firm continuing to benefit from a vast increase in the price of crude oil, which advance 38% from Q1 last year.

The Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, indicated last night that the US Central Bank will continue to employ an accommodative monetary policy to help maintain the US economic recovery, in a move that helped to keep equities moving in an upward direction, force the US dollar lower and rally commodity prices.

It is hard to imagine US interest rates going up anytime soon when the Fed’s Chairman Mr Bernanke describes the labour market as in a ‘very deep hole’.

With the US dollar trading at near three year lows, this is giving a boost to dollar denominated assets such as commodities, which become cheaper to buy for non dollar buyers. This in turn is helping to drive heavyweight equities and as such Indices higher.

Gold reaches new highs, Prince William might consider a hedge!
The price of Gold has successfully consolidated above the $1500 level and pushed onwards to new record highs of $1534 this morning thanks to Bernanke’s comments last night. So if Prince William is planning on buying his soon to be wife Kate Middleton a Gold wedding gift, he may have to hurry before it could becomes even more expensive. Or if he is planning on waiting until the traditional 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary, he may want to consider hedging the expense!

We have seen minimal trading activity today, which is to be expected, with most of the City of London eyeing cleaning their BBQ’s for the extended bank holiday weekend. The country will also be eagerly anticipating tomorrow’s historic Royal Wedding ceremony. So in that sense, traders can be forgiven for neglecting to actively trade today’s markets.

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