- The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.5% provisionally, having hit its highest since May 6 earlier in the day.
- Technology stocks led gains with a 1.6% rise, while travel and leisure stocks were the worst performer, falling 1.1%.
- Germany's DAX rose 0.4% and hit a nine-month high earlier in the session.
European markets finished higher Thursday as investors reacted to interest rate decisions from the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.5% provisionally, having hit its highest since May 6 earlier in the day.
Technology stocks led gains with a 1.6% rise, while travel and leisure stocks were the worst performer, falling 1.1%. Germany's DAX rose 0.4% and hit a nine-month high earlier in the session.
The week's focus on central banks continued Thursday, as the Bank of England held interest rates steady at 0.75% while cutting its growth forecast for Britain's economy to zero in the second quarter of 2019, citing global trade tensions and the growing risk of a damaging no-deal Brexit. Sterling was trading higher against the dollar following the Bank of England's decision, reaching around $1.2682 on Thursday afternoon.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi touted another round of stimulus on Tuesday, while Wednesday saw the U.S. Federal Reserve signal a rate cut later this year.
Investors also monitored geopolitical tensions Thursday after a U.S. drone was shot down in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, with Iran's Revolutionary Guard claiming it had downed the drone as "a clear message" to Washington. Oil prices surged on the news.
Back in the U.K., Boris Johnson extended his lead in the fourth round of the race to become Britain's next prime minister. Johnson, the favorite to replace Theresa May, won 157 out of 313 votes, and will face off against remaining candidates Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt later today.
In terms of individual stocks, shares of German food delivery company Delivery Hero jumped nearly 10% to top the European blue chip index, on the back of the company raising its full-year revenue guidance again. Other delivery services also gained on the news.
At the other end of the Stoxx 600, British tour operator Carnival saw its shares tumble 11% during the session after cutting its full-year profit forecast.
Elsewhere, shares of Deutsche Bank closed down 2.7% after it was reported that the German lender is facing an FBI investigation over possible money-laundering.