Markets

Federal Reserve statement, corporate earnings in focus

Back in Asia, futures pointed to a slightly lower open for Japanese equities. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were off 0.1 percent at 20,030 and Osaka futures were 0.15 percent lower compared to the benchmark index’s last close of 20,050.16.

In Australia, SPI futures were down 1.03 percent at 5,717 against the S&P/ASX 200’s Wednesday close of 5,776.625.

On Wall Street, equities were mostly higher at the close on the back of solid corporate results. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.45 percent, or 97.58 points, to close at a record 21,711.01, the S&P 500 edged up 0.03 percent, or 0.7 points, to end at 2,447.83 and the Nasdaq gained 0.16 percent, or 10.57 points, to finish the session at 6,422.75.

On the energy front, oil prices extended gains overnight to trade at their highest levels in almost two months. The rise in prices came on the back of a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. crude inventories, which was reported Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Brent crude rose 1.5 percent to settle at $50.97 a barrel and U.S. crude gained 1.8 percent to settle at $48.75 a barrel.

A slew of corporate earnings are expected on Thursday, including Japan’s Nissan and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust, Hong Kong’s Hang Lung Properties, South Korea’s Samsung Electric and LG Electric, and Singapore’s OCBC.

On the economic calendar, China industrial profits for June were expected at about 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.

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