Shell, StanChart gains lift FTSE as Fed dismisses rate hikes

FTSE 100 climbs, Shell and Standard Chartered lead gains on strong results.

London’s blue-chip index gained ground on Thursday, boosted by strong earnings from energy giant Shell and emerging markets lender Standard Chartered, as well as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s signal that it won’t raise interest rates further.

The FTSE 100 rose 0.4% to 8,145.75 points at the open, nearing its record high of 8,199.95 hit earlier this week. Shell shares climbed 1.4% after reporting a better-than-expected Q1 profit of $7.7 billion, aided by robust oil trading and higher refining margins.

Standard Chartered surged 6.9%, leading FTSE 100 gainers, as the bank posted a 5.5% jump in Q1 pretax profit that exceeded estimates.

The positive sentiment was further buoyed by the Fed maintaining interest rates and Chair Jerome Powell indicating future policy could involve holding rates or cutting them, dismissing the possibility of hikes. Traders now fully price in the Bank of England’s first rate cut in September.

The FTSE 250 index edged up 0.2% after two sessions of losses.

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