The FTSE 100 is set to start Thursday a shade higher after last night’s US Federal Reserve meeting came and went without any material changes.

CFD and spreadbetting firm IG sees the London index rising around 8 points, making a price of 6,970 to 6,973 with just over an hour to go until the open.

Thursday is set to be another busy day of blue-chip reporting including results from Royal Dutch Shell Plc (LON:RDSB), Unilever PLC (LON:ULVR) and Paddy Powe owner Flutter Entertainment PLC (LON:FLTR).

Over the pond, improving economic indicators in the United States bode well for the market but still fall short of the ‘heat’ that would make central bankers move away from ultra-low interest rates.

March saw the US economy add nearly 1mln new jobs but as Fed chair Jerome Powell highlighted there are still some 8mln Americans out of work in the pandemic, “substantial further progress” would be needed, he added.

“Last night’s Fed statement saw the US central bank acknowledge the recent improvement in US economic data, but also reiterate that they remained a long way short of the type of outcome-based data needed to alter their current policy stance, nixing any prospect of a taper in the near term,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said in a note.

The analyst added: “When pressed for more detail on what might be required for the Federal Reserve to start reducing policy accommodation, in terms of scenarios, the answer was always the same, ‘substantial further progress’ without actually putting any numbers on what that might be.”

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones gave up 164 points or 0.48% to close Wednesday’s session at 33,820.

The S&P 500 ended Wednesday down 0.08% at 4,183 whilst the Nasdaq dipped 0.28% at 14,051.

In Asia, meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.21% trading at 29,053 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.54% at 29,227. The Shanghai Composite was similarly up 0.21% at 3,464.

Around the markets

The pound: US$1.3956, up 0.15%

Gold: US$1,784 per ounce, up 0.48%

Silver: US$26.39 per ounce, up 0.54%

Brent crude: US$67.54 per barrel, up 1.6%

WTI crude: US$64.07 per barrel, up 1.8%

Bitcoin: US$53,808, down 1.75%

6.50am: Early Markets – Asia / Australia

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were higher on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday decided to leave short-term interest rates unchanged near zero as it buys at least US$120 billion of bonds each month.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong gained 0.58% while the Shanghai Composite in China rose 0.30%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.21% and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.08%.

Shares in Australia gained, with the S&P/ASX 200 trading 0.25% higher.

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Proactive Australia news:

Salt Lake Potash Ltd (ASX:SO4) (LON:SO4) (OTCMKTS:WHELF) (FRA:W1D) has received its Part IV Environmental Approval for the Lake Way Project in Western Australia covering full-scale operations of 245,000 tonnes per annum of sulphate of potash (SOP).

Poseidon Nickel Ltd (ASX:POS) (OTCMKTS:PSDNF) (FRA:NYG) has completed the 465-metre Golden Swan drill drive at its Black Swan Project and started a 13,000-metre resource definition drilling program.

Lotus Resources Ltd (ASX:LOT) (OTCMKTS:LTSRF) has completed its secondary listing on the OTCQB market in the United States with the ticker LTSRF and trading began last night.

Westar Resources Ltd (ASX:WSR) has completed negotiations to facilitate 100% ownership of the Carbine Bore leases encompassed by the company’s Gidgee South Gold project, consolidating tenure and underpinning its belief in this district.

Matador Mining Ltd (ASX:MZZ) (OTCMKTS:MZZMF) (FRA:MA3) has started 2021 exploration at its 100%-owned Cape Ray Gold Project in Newfoundland, Canada, in what is shaping as its largest program to date.

Yandal Resources Ltd (ASX:YRL) drilling during the March quarter delivered strong early high-grade gold results from several prospects within highly prospective projects in the Yandal and Norseman-Wiluna Greenstone Belts in Western Australia.

Volt Resources Ltd (ASX:VRC) (FRA:R8L) is set to transform into a graphite producer in the current quarter with the pending acquisition of a 70% stake in the Zavalievsky group of companies based in Ukraine complementing the company’s recent membership of the European Battery Alliance (EBA).

Emyria Ltd (ASX:EMD) will continue its focus on initiating and completing pivotal clinical trials for the EMD-003 program, seeking to register a cannabinoid-based medicine with a unique capsule dose form to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress.

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