European shares hit 2-week high, focus on Scottish results
* Pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 ends 0.9 pct higher
* Focus on Scottish referendum results due early on Friday
* Sulzer gains on mergers & acquisitions news
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Sept 18 (Reuters) - European equities closed higher 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.
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.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended 0.9 percent firmer at 1,398.03 points after rising up to 1,399.96, its highest since early September. Britain's FTSE rose 0.6 percent, Germany's DAX index gained 1.4 percent and France's CAC 40 rose 0.8 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...