Europe and Asia Close Higher

European stock markets closed higher on Thursday. London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 gained 12.70 points, or 0.27%, to close at 4642.80. The FTSE 100 staged a late recovery to finish above the gain-line, lifted by strong financials. Shell gained 2.77%, broadly on a technical bounce, after announcing the unification of the company, the board and the post of chief executive. Investors piled in ahead of an increased FTSE weighting. Miners BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Antofagasta plunged on the interest rates news from China. GlaxoSmithKline slipped 0.26%, amid revenue concerns. Amvescap soared 8.44% on a relief rally, despite numbers slightly below estimates. British Airways, gained 3.87%, taking off on the back of cheaper fuel. Irish pharma group Elan rose 2.16% after saying it expects a return to profitability by 2006.

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