European shares hit two-week high, Scottish vote drags on FTSE
* Pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index up 1 percent
* Focus on Scottish vote, trading volumes relatively low
* Sulzer gains on mergers & acquisitions news
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Sept 18 (Reuters) - European equities advanced on Thursday, with a key index climbing to a two-week high after the U.S. Federal Reserve renewed its pledge to keep interest rates ultra-low for a considerable time.
British shares underperformed as voting got underway in Scotland's referendum on independence, keeping investors on edge ahead of the result on Friday.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 1 percent at 1,399.09 points by 1401 GMT after rising up to 1,399.19, its highest since early September. Britain's FTSE was up 0.5 percent, Germany's DAX index gained 1.2 percent and France's CAC 40 rose 0.7 percent.
The market got support from a statement from the Fed, which reaffirmed late on Wednesday its commitment to keep interest rates near zero for a "considerable time". However, it also indicated it could raise borrowing costs faster than expected when it starts moving.
"Investors are feeling a bit relieved that the Fed statement didn't include any big negative surprise and kept the line that everybody was focusing on," HSBC Securities equity strategist Robert Parkes said. "The statement gave mixed signals, although equity investors are interpreting it on the dovish side." Continuación...