Europe's main stock markets pushed their way higher Thursday after a negative start, as investors awaited direction on the outlook for US interest rates.
The US Federal Reserve is set to release the minutes of its last monetary policy meeting with analysts looking for signs on whether it would raise interest rates starting this year or next.
The Bank of England revealed Thursday it would keep its main interest rate at the record-low 0.5 percent, where it has stood for six-and-a-half years to support growth.
While both the Fed and BoE are looking to raise interest rates amid expectations of higher inflation in the US and Britain, a slowdown in China has put pressure on central bankers to delay any hikes to borrowing costs.
European stock markets have risen in recent days, supported by expectations that the Federal Reserve will hold off from hiking US interest rates until at least next year in the wake of disappointing jobs data in the world's biggest economy.
Vicky Redwood, chief UK economist at research group Capital Economics, noted that "the MPC’s decision to leave interest rates on hold again would have been an easy one given the recent softening in both domestic and global economic news".
But in the markets Thursday, "cautious investors are likely to maintain a watching brief while searching for clues on future ECB monetary policy and whether the Fed seem likely to increase interest rates this year or hold off until 2016," said Andy McLevey, head of dealing at stockbroker Interactive Investor.
In the eurozone, analysts see the European Central Bank going the other way by possibly adding more stimulus to the economy rather than tightening interest rates, because of deflation, or falling prices across the single currency bloc.
In foreign exchange, the euro rose to $1.1259 from $1.1237 late on Wednesday in New York.
In afternoon stock trades Thursday, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index gained 0.32 percent to stand at 6,356.51 points compared with Wednesday's close.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 climbed 0.16 percent to 9,986 points and the Paris CAC 40 rose 0.12 percent to 4,673.08 points.
US stocks however opened lower Thursday ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve's September meeting minutes.
Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.19 percent at 16,880.72 points..
The broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.22 percent at 1,991.45, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.39 percent at 4,772.48.
On Europe's corporate front Thursday, the world's biggest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, urged shareholders at rival beer giant SABMiller to go against their board and accept a new takeover offer.
SABMiller rejected on Wednesday an improved $103-billion bid from AB InBev, arguing that its third effort was still too low.
Following the latest move, the share price of SABMiller in London afternoon trades slipped 0.04 percent to 3,631.50 pence, while AB InBev lost 1.19 percent to 97.48 euros.
The latest offer was priced at 42.15 pounds per SABMiller share.
Elsewhere, Deutsche Bank stock was down 0.84 percent at 25.27 euros after Germany's biggest lender braced its employees for bonus cuts -- after it announced its biggest quarterly loss in about a decade and warned that dividends could be scrapped.