By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

U.K. stocks closed higher Thursday to end a three-day losing run, led higher by more defensive plays.

The FTSE 100 rose 0.58% to 7356.42, with telecom giant Vodafone (VOD.LN) and pharmaceutical AstraZeneca (AZN.LN) each rising more than 2%.

British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG.LN) was the top percentage riser in the FTSE 100, gaining 3.8%.

The gains came as the Bank of England held interest rates, as expected, and painted a softer view toward the economy. "Entrenched Brexit uncertainties and slower global growth have led to the re-emergence of a margin of excess supply," the central bank said.

The worst performer was Next (NXT.LN) , losing over 5% as the retailer reiterated its full-year pretax profit view.

U.K. retail sales more broadly fell 0.2% in August after a decline in non-store sales. Amazon's Prime Day had boosted activity in July.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 19, 2019 12:46 ET (16:46 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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