European stocks close higher after boost from Wall Street

European stocks closed higher on Thursday, as upbeat trade on Wall Street boosted markets elsewhere.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed up around 0.6 percent.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 ended up around 0.9 percent, while the German DAX was 0.6 percent higher and the French CAC 40 was up 0.2 percent.

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On Wall Street, Apple gained more than 3 percent, helping the Nasdaq composite outperform. In general, indexes were boosted by weak jobs data that was seen as boosting the chances of the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates on hold this month.

Apple shares rallied on reports of strong sales for its iPhone 7, which spilled out into support for European suppliers. Shares of Dialog Semiconductor and STMicro closed over 2 percent higher.

Apple's iPhone 7 goes on general sale on Friday. The company says initial quantities of its larger-screen iPhone 7 Plus have sold out, as has the the regular iPhone 7 in "jet black."


BoE hikes growth forecast

The Bank of England met on Thursday and left interest rates and its bond-buying program unchanged after a unanimous vote.The central bank raised its third-quarter growth forecast to 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter from a previous estimate of 0.1 percent. It also said inflation would reach the 2 percent target in the first half of 2017.

This follows a stream of better-than-expected economic data for August that suggests the hit from the Brexit vote in June may have been short-term.

On Thursday, data showed U.K. retail sales rose 6.2 percent year-on-year last month, beating market expectations.

Individual U.K. stocks were also in focus. Shares of Morrison closed up around 7.5 percent after the supermarket chain reported a rise in first-half profit and an increase in the interim dividend.

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However, Next shares closed down around 4.9 percent after it reported profit before tax had fallen 1.5 percent in the first half of the year.

Shares of H&M closed around 4.3 percent down after it reported a 7 percent rise in August sales, but missed analyst forecasts.

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