European Indexes End Higher

Markets Thursday weighed decisions by the ECB and Bank of England to keep interest rates unchanged


The FTSE 100 ended Thursday's session higher, tracking gains on Wall Street where positive retail sales data from Wal-Mart and others boosted sentiment. In London, the BOE kept rates at 5.75% as expected. Mining stocks rallied as talk that BHP BILLITON (+3.95%) is interested in RIO TINTO (+5.42%) resurfaced. WTI was trading at c.US$77 as EIA data showed a wider crude draw than anticipated. BG GROUP (+4.83%) gained after an oil find in Brazil. DRAX (-5.63%) showed first half numbers at top end of estimates, but disappointed the market with an £83 million buyback and expectations of tighter margins. PUNCH TAVERNS (+1.69%) warned fiscal profit will miss board forecasts on poor weather and flooding. AMEC (+4.66%) jumped, on the back of strong interims, ahead of consensus and raising overall guidance for fiscal 2007 pretax profit. Media group AEGIS (+0.19%) published better-than-expected organic revenue growth for first half, although results were impacted by adverse fx. YULE CATTO (-7.82%) said it expects modest progress in 2007. ARRIVA's (+3.54%) first half sales beat consensus. HMV's (+0.19%) trading update this morning came in ahead of market expectations, but analysts said this was largely driven by short term relief effects such as sales of the Harry Potter book. STANDARD CHARTERED (-2.11%) announced the departure of Kai Nargolwala, a director at the Asia-focused bank.

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