European Indexes Rally

A roundup of Thursday's action in major European markets

London

The FTSE 100 closed strongly higher as Wall Street traded in the black boosted by Wal-Mart raising its profit forecast. At home, strength in oil and commodity prices kept mining and energy majors in demand. The BoJ left rates on hold at 0.5%. WTI fired up to US$83.07/bbl as US refinery inputs fell and gasoline demand rose. Copper prices gained, while gold glittered. £ was at US$2.0356. Among the gainers, oil giant BP (+2.33%) unveiled plans to improve delivery to boost revenues and cut costs. Index heavyweight VODAFONE (+4.85%) jumped on market talk that CEO Arun Sarin may leave the company. The company refused to comment. In the sector, Telefonica has promised higher profits and dividends. Among other solid risers, BRADFORD & BINGLEY (+0.99%) was strong on speculation of a positive US roadshow and after Standard Life Investments declared a 3.2% stake. In earnings, WH SMITH (-6.37%) wrote up a forecast-beating 29% rise in fiscal pretax profit pre-ex, but said that it expects the key Christmas season to be very competitive. SAGE (-3.28%) said fiscal core earnings are expected to rise 18.4%, with results seen in line with market consensus. The software company said that its North America CEO Ron Verni has left with immediate effect. HAYS (+1.40%) said it has made a strong start to the year, with net fees growing 21% on an like-for-like basis.

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