European markets open to close; Bank of England interest rate decision

LONDON — European stocks were slightly higher on Thursday, building on gains made in the previous session.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 rose 0.3% in early trading. Retail stocks were the best performers, gaining 2.5%, while telecommunications fell 0.4%.

The cautiously positive start for European stocks came after Wednesday’s gains amid strong US economic data that tamed investor fears of a looming recession. The ISM Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index showed a surprise rebound in July, also pushing US stocks higher.

Such a move would take borrowing costs to 1.75% as the central bank battles runaway inflation and would be the first half-point hike since being made independent of the UK government in 1997. The forecast rise comes as UK inflation hit a new 40- an annual high of 9.4% in June.

Elsewhere overnight, Asia-Pacific stocks traded higher on Thursday after Wall Street rallied and as investors walked away from tensions sparked by the controversial visit of the US House Speaker. United, Nancy Pelosi, Taiwan.

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Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures were roughly flat on Thursday morning after major averages snapped a two-day drop in the previous regular trading session.

Earnings before the bell came Thursday from Credit Agricole, Adidas, Bayer, Lufthansa, Merck, Zalando, Rolls-Royce, Next, Glencore and Adecco Group.

Lufthansa shares soared 6% to top the Stoxx 600 after the German posted a lower-than-expected quarterly loss.

At the bottom of Europe’s blue chip index, Danish medical device company Ambu plunged 14% after it slashed its margin forecast and announced it would lay off around 200 staff.

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