Fed offers more tricks than treats

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is down 25 points, after Ben Bernanke spooked the markets last night.

When investors knocked on Mr Bernanke’s door last night, they were hoping he would treat them to at least another five months of QE. But instead they came away with only half the quantity of goodies they were hoping for. In its classic style, the Federal Reserve didn’t show its full hand: the stimulus package was left unchanged, but there were also suggestions that tapering might begin sooner rather than later. It would appear that when Mr Bernanke steps down there will be no change to monetary policy, so Janet Yellen may become the Wicked Witch of the West who will trim the QE policy.

The FTSE 100 is haunted by Shell, as the oil giant has a large weighting in the index and posted a 32% decline in third-quarter profits. Production problems in Nigeria and rising exploration costs impacted the bottom line. 2013 has been a nightmare for Antofagasta shareholders, with the stock losing over 30% of its value since January, and today's weak production figures are not helping the situation.

In the US, we are expecting the Dow to open 30 points lower at 15,590, as traders lock in their profits from the recent record highs. Facebook is up 4% in our extended hours trading, after the social media giant reported a 60% rise in revenues.

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