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Investment market update

Early Trading

UK stocks are expected to open flat this morning, as investors continue to digest the latest comments from the Federal Reserve.

World Markets

Asian stocks pared their biggest monthly advance in six years after the Federal Reserve bolstered prospects for a December interest-rate increase. Sony Corp. returned to profitability in the fiscal second quarter, the electronics and media company reported after the Tokyo close. Net income was 33.6 billion yen ($278 million) in the three months ended 30 September.

US stocks soared to a two-month high as commodity producers rallied and the Federal Reserve’s signal that it may raise interest rates as soon as December sent financial shares surging. Bank of America Corp. surged 5.4% and the KBW Bank Index climbed the most in two months. Energy shares advanced as crude added 6.3%, while Apple gained 4.1%, the most in eight weeks, after its results and forecast for record holiday sales.

UK shares rose on Wednesday on the back of gains by gold mining companies and BT. BT Group was the top riser in the index, climbing 3.5% after the competition regulator gave provisional clearance to its takeover of mobile phone operator EE. Share of gold miners also rose on the expectation that the Federal Reserve would not increase rates yet.

Headlines

Federal Reserve officials pivoted toward a December interest-rate increase, betting that further job gains will lead to higher inflation over time and allow them to close an unprecedented era of near-zero borrowing costs. The Federal Open Market Committee dropped a reference to global risks and referred to its “next meeting” on 15-16 December as it discussed lift off timing in a statement released Wednesday in Washington, preparing investors for the first rate rise since 2006.

UK house-price growth picked up slightly in October to the fastest in six months, according to Nationwide Building Society. Prices increased 0.6% from the previous month, when they advanced 0.5%, the lender said in a statement on Thursday. The annual rate of growth accelerated to 3.9% from 3.8%, and the average value was £196,807.

Oil executives are standing by promises to protect dividend pay outs from the collapse in crude prices even as they fire workers, cancel drilling projects and sell everything from oil fields to aircraft to conserve cash. Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s biggest oil explorer, declared a quarterly dividend on Wednesday that will raise the 2015 pay out for the 33rd straight year. Within hours of Exxon’s announcement, Chevron Corp. disclosed a pay out that will boost its annual remittance for a 28th straight year.

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