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European Indexes Finish Higher

A roundup of Thursday's action on major European exchanges

LONDON

The FTSE 100 (+0.65%) finished the day with minor gains, off earlier highs, as Wall Street traded mixed with only the NASDAQ trading higher, stunned by the weakest Philly Fed index since 2001, which came in at -24 vs a consensus of -11. At home, miners gained because of strong metal prices and renewed M&A rumours. Press reports from Brazil suggested Vale increased its offer for XSTRATA (+2.86%) to US$89.30bn. BAE SYSTEMS (+1.27%) posted strong FY numbers with operating results at the top end of estimates. The group expected good growth in 2008. CENTRICA (-3.90%) unveiled FY earnings above consensus and raised final DPS to 9.65p. REED ELSEVIER (+7.45%) published FY07 sales of GBP4.584bn, in line with consensus, and said it expected cost saving for 2008-11 of GBP245m. SHIRE (+2.42%) climbed on better-than-expected FY earnings. At KINGFISHER (+2.65%) B&Q's LFL fell 1.7% in 4Q, worse than expected, but performance in France was strong. SABMILLER (+1.29%) said that it had looked at SCOTTISH & NEWCASTLE (-2.54%) but decided against taking any action. ALLIANCE & LEICESTER (-2.54%) fell further as brokers downgraded the stock after its profit warning. BSKYB (+2.23%) said it would challenge the Competition Commissions's findings on its stake in ITV (+1.7%). In the broader market, TOMKINS' (+2.02%) FY PTP beat estimates, but said the outlook is challenging.