Updates from Shell and BG Group

The FTSE 100 climbed 21 points on Wednesday, up +0.33%, to 6,451. BT Group was the biggest climber, up 3.44%, while more volatility hit Eurasian Natural Resources, down -4.23%.

In contrast the Dow Jones fell -0.94%, tumbling almost 140 points, to 14,700. Overnight, the Nikkei fell -0.91% to 13,673.

First off, Royal Dutch Shell and a boost in first quarter earnings. Shell's earnings climb to $8.0bn compared with $7.7bn for the first quarter in 2012. The improved numbers come on the back of better refining and trading performance despite Nigerian production woes.

There's a first quarter 2013 dividend of $0.45 per ordinary share and $0.90 per American Depositary Share ("ADS"), an increase of +5%. Improving cash flow is seeing Shell accelerate its share buyback programme; this year it repurchased $1.2 billion (by end of April).

"These results," says Shell boss Peter Voser, who has announced his retirement, "were underpinned by Shell's growth projects, an improvement in downstream profitability, and were delivered despite a difficult security environment in Nigeria."

Next, BG Group. Earnings slip -3% to $1.2 billion with production down -3%; in the LNG segment total operating profit climbs +3%; both in line with guidance. Cash flow from operations is up +3% to $2.7 billion.

In Australia, despite the impact of heavy rain throughout the first quarter on its drilling activities and pipeline construction, BG claims "good progress" on its QCLNG project; in Brazil its second floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit began operations on time and on budget.

"I am pleased with the delivery of our key milestones in the first quarter," says chief exec Chris Finlayson. "We have made a good start to the year and while there is still more to accomplish, I am encouraged by the progress we are making against our remaining 2013 targets."

Lastly, mobile satellite communications service provider Inmarsat. For the last three months up to 31 March Global MSS revenues climbed to $184.6m, up 3.7% (2012: $178.0m) with Inmarsat Solutions revenues slipping slightly to $189.5m (2012: $190.8m).

"Within our Inmarsat Solutions retail segment," says chief exec Rupert Pearce, "we have seen results in line with our expectations from three of our four business units. However, in our US Government business unit, we have seen a sudden and pronounced deterioration in both demand and profitability, in each case principally related to US budget cuts."

This has led to further margin compression in its Solutions business in the first quarter adds Pearce "and we expect the current adverse market conditions for our US Government retail activities to continue for the time being."