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The Dow and S&P 500 bolted to fresh records Thursday on continued momentum from Wednesday''s Federal Reserve decision and enthusiasm ahead of Alibaba''s expected initial public offering Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 109.14 points (0.64 percent) to 17,265.99, its second record close in a row. The S&P 500 gained 9.79 (0.49 percent) to 2,011.36, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 31.24 (0.68 percent) to 4,593.43.

US stocks edged higher in volatile trading on Wednesday after the US Federal Reserve renewed its pledge to keep interest rates near zero for a "considerable time" and repeated concerns over slack in the labour market, standing firm against calls to overhaul its policy statement. Interest rate projections, however, show Fed officials expect rate hikes, when they come, will do so at a quicker pace than previously forecast. The US dollar jumped against the euro and yen after the statement and data release. Shares in
Tokyo's Nikkei stock index rose 1.13 percent Thursday to its highest close since early January as a sharply weaker yen boosted exporter shares, but Sony plunged after warning of a huge annual loss. The benchmark Nikkei at the Tokyo Stock Exchange added 178.90 points to end at 16,067.57, putting the index within reach of last year's closing high. The broader Topix index of all first-section issues rose 0.99 percent, or 12.95 points, to 1,317.91.
Britain's top shares rose on Thursday as investors started to price in a vote by Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom, with further support coming from expectations that interest rates will stay low in the United States for an extended period. As voting on Scottish independence began at 0600 GMT on Thursday, various surveys showed support for union at 52 percent and for independence at 48 percent. Another showed unionist support at 51 percent and separatist at 49 percent. Yet another put the gap at 53 percent and 47 percent.
European equities closed higher on Thursday, with a key index climbing to a two-week high after the US Federal Reserve renewed its pledge to keep interest rates ultra-low for a considerable time. However, British shares slightly underperformed as voting got underway in Scotland's referendum on independence, keeping investors on edge ahead of the result on Friday.
Indian shares surged nearly 2 percent on Thursday, posting their biggest daily gain in over three months, on hopes foreign buying would continue as country can better weather any Fed-related volatility due to improving fundamentals. Traders said a report from news channel Zee Business that Standard & Poor's would raise its rating on India had also boosted shares. S&P officials were not immediately reachable for comment.
Hong Kong stocks closed 0.85 percent lower Thursday, giving up most of the previous day's gains, after the US Federal Reserve suggested an eventual interest rate hike tipped for late next year could be more than forecast. The Hang Seng Index shed 207.69 points to 24,168.72 on turnover of HK$70.20 billion ($9.06 billion). The index rallied one percent on Wednesday on a report that China's central bank had pumped $81 billion into the country's top five lenders in a bid to boost the struggling economy.
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Index Closing Chg%
Arrow DJIA 17,265.99 0.64
Arrow Nasdaq 4,593.43 0.68
Arrow S&P 2,011.36 0.49
Arrow FTSE 6,819.29 0.57
Arrow DAX 9,798.13 1.41
Arrow CAC-40 4,464.70 0.75
Arrow Nikkei 16,067.57 1.13
Arrow H.Seng 24,168.72 0.85
Arrow Sensex 27,112.21 1.81

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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.434 bln
Exports $1.930 bln
Imports $3.364 bln
WeeklySeptember 18, 2014
Reserves $13.525 bln