European and Asian markets were mixed as investors still struggled to decide on a clear opinion on the Fed's statement. Shell's profit surged, beating expectations.
Here are five things that matter for markets now:
- Tension is rising between Russia and the West. NATO scrambled military air fighters to contain incursions by Russian jets into its airspace in Europe. This week was one of the worst for Russian air activity near European airspace since the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s. Meanwhile the Russians are demanding firmer commitments from the European Union that Ukraine will pay for gas deliveries this winter, delaying Ukraine's efforts to unblock gas deliveries as winter sets in and following elections in which pro-EU parties won by a wide margin.
- China posted a current account surplus of $81.5 billion in the third quarter. It recorded a deficit on the capital and financial account of $81.6 billion, data from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, the foreign exchange regulator, shows. China's current account is liberalized, meaning that companies can exchange renminbi for other currencies freely for import and export purposes, but its capital account is still subject to restrictions. This means that investors cannot buy and sell renminbi or renminbi-denominated securities for portfolio investment without getting permission first. This allows the government to control the exchange rate and also to keep at bay potentially destabilizing foreign capital flows.
- Oil major Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) beat profit expectations, with third-quarter adjusted net profit at £5.8 billion ($9.3 billion) vs. estimates of £5.5 billion. The profit was 31% higher than in the third quarter of last year. Shell also announced it is appointing former Bank of America chairman Chad Holliday as its new chairman. The current chairman Jorma Ollila will step down next year after nine years in the role.
- U.K. bank Barclays (BCS) said it set aside an $800 million charge related to litigation in the third quarter. But it still managed a better-than-expected profit of £1.59 billion ($2.54 billion), 15% higher than in the same period a year ago and compared with analyst expectations of £1.21 billion.
- The rate of increase of house prices in the U.K. slowed for the second month in a row. A survey by Nationwide, the mortgage lender, showed home prices rising by an annual rate of 9% in October compared with September's 9.4% increase.