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FTSE 100 to start Thursday on front foot after US Fed stays dovish and Asian markets rise

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%

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