The Board of the Federal Reserve made comments in its monthly meeting that were interpreted as hawkish. That and weak trading statements from Barclays and Royal Dutch Shell explain a 1 per cent plunge in the FTSE 100 index at the open. The Trader Nicole Elliott reports.
Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) posted some stomach-churning third-quarter figures, including a $6.1bn (£4bn) net loss based on the company's standard current cost of supplies (CCS) measure. Last year the equivalent quarterly figure was $5.3bn. The reported numbers include a tangle of write-downs and exceptional charges. The most positive piece of news chief executive Ben van Beurden could salvage was that "both net investments and dividends have been covered by operating cash flow over the last year, when oil prices have averaged $60 a barrel" - implying a repegging of long-term oil-price expectations similar to that seen at BP. We maintain our long-standing buy recommendation.