Resource firms boost FTSE whilst investors await the FOMC conclusion this afternoon

<p>European markets were pushed marginally higher during early trading on Wednesday as investors look ahead to the conclusion of the FOMC meeting this evening, with […]</p>

European markets were pushed marginally higher during early trading on Wednesday as investors look ahead to the conclusion of the FOMC meeting this evening, with news regarding future asset purchases expected to be top of the agenda.

The FTSE rose 0.2% by mid morning lining itself up for the sixth straight session of gains. However, given the strong performance of the market over the recent weeks we could well be seeing the market ready for a slight pull back or at least a pause and whilst trading volumes remain relatively light leaving any big movements one way or the other to be fragile.

The Federal Reserve is widely believed to launch a fresh round of purchases of Treasury’s after Operation Twist expires at the end of the year. There are varying views as to the possible magnitude and duration of the new programme but the markets are confident that there will be a replacement. The central bank will be keen to stay predictable in order to support the markets, especially given the uncertainty that is surrounding the fiscal cliff.

Back here in Europe finance ministers will be meeting this afternoon to try to thrash out the details of the creation of a European banking Union under the ECB, after a meeting last week ended in deadlock. There appear to be several areas where minister’s are unable to reach a consensus, such as whether the ECB should supervise all 6000 euro area banks or just the major ones and whether the ECB  should be able to veto any banking supervisors decisions? Either way EU leaders want to sign off the deal at a summit on Thursday and Friday; currently this deadline looks a little optimistic.

Here in the UK the resource sector led the FTSE 100 higher as most commodity prices were trading up. Anglo American topped the leader board up over 2% whilst other miners such as Kazakhmys and BHP Billiton also gained over 1%. On the down side, shares in Tullow oil continued to tumble dropping another 2% by mid morning, adding to their loss of 5% yesterday. Credit Suisse downgraded the explorer from outperform to Neutral.

Domestic data has been light, although surprise news that the number of people claiming unemployment benefit has dropped and the number of people in work is the highest since records began in 1971 which was well received. Looking to the afternoon the conclusion of the FOMC meeting at 5.30pm GMT will remain the focus for investors.

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