U.K. stocks rallied Thursday, with Burberry Group PLC shares benefiting after a broker raised targets, and with a Bank of England decision on interest rates ahead.
The FTSE 100 UKX, +0.53% rose 0.5% to 6,967.97, with all but the energy and basic materials sector moving higher.
U.K. and European equities were also higher after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s March meeting, released Wednesday, suggested policy makers may be divided on whether to begin raising rates in June.
Burberry BRBY, +4.06% shares popped up 4.4%, topping the blue-chip benchmark. The move came as J.P. Morgan Cazenove raised its estimates on the luxury-goods maker by around 5% for fiscal year 2016 and 2017 “due to the positive impact of Burberry’s sourcing in euros.”
Shares of BG Group PLC BG., +0.04% picked up 0.5%, adding to their 27% rally on Wednesday, after Royal Dutch Shell Group PLC RDSA, +0.34% RDSB, -0.14% agreed to take over the energy producer in a £47 billion ($69.6 billion) deal. Shell was off 0.1%.
BHP Billiton PLC BLT, -1.77% BHP, -2.25% BHP, -1.79% led decliners, losing 2.5% after Credit Suisse downgraded the iron-ore mining heavyweight to underperform from neutral, citing concerns about valuation.
Investors will look for the Bank of England’s policy decision at 12 p.m. London time, or 7 a.m. Eastern time. Policy makers are expected to hold the key interest rate at a record low 0.5%. The pound GBPUSD, -0.54% fetched $1.4841 versus $1.4868 late Wednesday in New York.