Europe Closes Higher, Asia Mixed

European stock markets closed higher on Thursday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 gained 42.40 points, or 0.90%, to close at 4776.90, a 29-month high. Investors took a liking to results from telco giant BT and BG Group. BT reported a 4% rise in second-quarter profits to 549 million pounds, vs. 528 million pounds year-over-year, and said the 36% growth in new wave revenues to 1.033 billion pounds helped deliver its best underlying revenue growth in almost three years. BG was in line with forecasts, with a 34% rise in third-quarter net profit to 215 million pounds from 161 million pounds. Royal & Sun Alliance took a hit with the market rattled by comments RSA made about the potential for some future adverse claims developments, which will be assessed during the fourth quarter. The Bank of Ireland said first-half of the year profits are up 5% to 676 million euro from 642 million euro, in line with expectations, but noted its asset management division was facing a challenge with assets under management falling 3% to 56 billion euro. Invensys reported second-quarter operating profit at 47 million pounds, slightly ahead of forecasts, and reiterated trading was in line with expectations. Prudential this morning said its controversial 1 billion pound rights issue had a take-up rate of 92%. While following the launch of its 3G strategy yesterday, Vodafone moved up 1.45%.

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