FTSE 100 pitched slightly higher ahead of open as central bankers and Jackson Hole distract

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The FTSE 100 is set to mark a sliver higher on Thursday as the opening of the Jackson Hole symposium comes into focus for equity markets.

CFD and spreadbetting firm IG Index sees London’s blue-chip benchmark about 4 points higher, making a price of 6,047 to 6,050 with just over an hour to go until the open.

US Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell will address online attendees later today and the central banker is very much in people’s attention.

Speculation points to expectations that he may let slip that the Fed is preparing to tolerate above-target inflation in the short term in order to support broader economic stability.

“He is also likely to ram home the message from his previous press conference that the recovery still largely depends on the virus, and the Fed remains ready to do whatever is necessary to support the economy,” said Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets.

“At the risk of coming across as rather glib, I’m not altogether sure how this is any different to what central banks have been doing for the past twelve years, and appears to come across as rather desperate.”

The analyst added: “The Fed may well be able to anchor market expectations about its inflation targeting, however we already know from the Bank of England’s experience of the last 12 years, when it let inflation roar up to 5%, without nudging rates up, that it is easier to say than it is to do.

“As such this could well be a buy the rumour, sell the news type of move as we head towards the weekend.”

Powell’s comments will come against a backdrop of at least superficially strong equity pricing on Wall Street, meanwhile, the latest hurricane warnings in the vicinity of the Gulf of Mexico stimulated crude oil levels.

Wednesday saw the Dow Jones gain 83 points or 0.3% to close at 28,331 while the S&P 500 climbed another 1% to finish the day at 3,478 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq index advanced further, rising 1.73% to close at 11,665.

In Asia, meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei fell 104 points or 0.45% to 23,186.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng moved 0..83% lower to 25,281 and the Shanghai Composite added 0.47% to 3,348.

Around the markets

The pound: US$1.3206, down 0.03%

Gold: US$1,943 per ounce, down 0.44%

Silver: US$27.21 per ounce, down 0.56%

Brent crude: US$45.76 per barrel, 0.2%

WTI crude: US$43.39 per barrel, up 0.09%

Bitcoin: US$11,369, down 0.07%

6.45 am: Early Markets: Asia / Australia

Shares in Asia Pacific were mixed today as the latest data showed China’s industrial sector grew 19.6% in July compared to last year, an increase from the 11.5% gain in June.

China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.44%, while the Shenzhen Composite jumped 0.58%.

Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 0.91% and in Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed 0.46%.

The S&P/ASX 200 is easing back in the final 90 minutes of trade with a 0.18% gain as financials traded lower but mining and health stocks were still ahead.

Proactive Australia news:

Auroch Minerals Ltd (ASX:AOU) has intersected high-grade massive nickel sulphides from diamond drilling at the Saints Nickel Project in Western Australia.

Predictive Discovery Ltd (ASX:PDI) has further expanded the Bankan Creek zone at Bankan Gold Project in Guinea after receiving results of up to 42 metres at 2.8 g/t gold from 12 metres to the end-of-hole.

St George Mining Ltd (ASX:SGQ) has intersected thick mafic-ultramafic units with nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation in drilling at the flagship Mt Alexander Project in WA’s Goldfields region.

Talisman Mining Ltd (ASX:TLM) has completed its maiden two-hole diamond drilling program at the high-grade Lucknow Gold Project in NSW with all assays received.

Australian Strategic Materials Ltd’s (ASX:ASM) Korean research and development partner ZironTech has produced 20.8 kilograms of high-purity titanium metal with energy and environmental benefits.

Kin Mining NL (ASX:KIN) has extended the Cardinia Hill discovery within its Cardinia Gold Project (CGP) in WA at depth and to the north with further strong results from drilling.

Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies Ltd (ASX:ROO) has secured a major sales channel into the Israel market for its proprietary Root Zone Temperature Optimisation (RZTO) technology.

Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) (OTC:LLKKF) has taken another big step in its strategy to deliver ‘clean’ lithium to the growing global green energy push by appointing leading battery technology and materials company Novonix to produce high-performance lithium-ion battery test cells.

Lithium Australia NL’s (ASX:LIT) 90% subsidiary Envirostream expects to begin regular recycling end-of-life (EOL) electric vehicle (EV) batteries in coming weeks after signing further agreements with two additional battery suppliers.

Bellevue Gold Ltd (ASX:BGL) has taken a key step in its project development strategy with the appointment of GBF Mining and Industrial Services to complete stage 1 at its namesake gold project in WA.

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