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European stocks closed higher as investors digest Brexit process; Tullow Oil jumps 7.7%

European markets closed mostly higher on Thursday as investors came to terms with the official launch of Brexit proceedings and digested reports regarding the European Central Bank (ECB).

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The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 ended up 0.51 percent, with most sectors trading in positive territory. Basic Resources led the gains on Thursday, up over 1.6 percent, as oil prices rose further to build on two consecutive positive sessions after Kuwait had given its backing for an extension of OPEC production cuts.

At the European market close, U.S. crude and Brent both traded at over $50 per barrel, up more than 1 percent on the day. Tullow Oil surged to the top of the benchmark on Thursday, up over 7.7 percent.

The FTSE 100 in London was little changed on Thursday, with all other major bourses tacking on strong gains.

Italian oil company Saipem was up 1.3 percent, after returning to profit in its year-end results. Meanwhile, media and the financial services sectors were among those trading higher, up 1.2 percent and 0.88 percent respectively.

At the bottom of European benchmarks, the auto sector was among those seen lower Thursday, down 0.74 percent. Car maker Daimler plummeted near the bottom of the benchmark after it announced plans to enter the electric vehicle market. Its shares were over 4.1 percent lower.

Asian shares moved towards their highest point in two years while the dollar benefited overnight on a Reuters report that the European Central Bank is keen to reassure investors that its easy-money policy is far from ending.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average continued higher after upwardly revised gross domestic product (GDP) data reflected further strength in the domestic economy.

As Europe moves forward Thursday following the U.K.'s official declaration Wednesday to exit the EU, trade ministers will meet in Valletta, Malta, later to discuss negotiating guidelines for the remaining 27 member states, as well as other trade deals.

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Also on Thursday, France's independent presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron is to present his "contract with the nation" agenda ahead of the first round of voting on April, 23.

Russia's Vladimir Putin moved to deny Moscow had any interference in the U.S. election at the International Arctic Forum on Thursday as he quoted George Bush and said, "read my lips, no".

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