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 and pharmaceutical AstraZeneca each rising more than 2%.
British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group 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 , 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.