European stocks advanced Thursday, extending recent bumper gains on lingering hopes for stimulus measures to help boost the weak global economy, and after well-received Spanish bond sales.
In late morning deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index added 0.69 percent to 5,421.08 points, ahead of the latest Bank of England interest rate decision due at 1100 GMT.
Elsewhere, Madrid's IBEX 35 index leapt 1.48 percent to 6,514.70 points, the Paris CAC 40 won 0.63 percent to 3,077.85 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 gained 0.45 percent to 6,121.92 points.
The European single currency nudged lower to $1.2579, compared with $1.2580 late in New York on Wednesday.
Recent poor economic data has sparked fears over the health of the global economy and prompted speculation that the world's leading central banks would implement emergency stimulus plans to boost activity.
The Bank of England is widely tipped to leave borrowing costs at a record low of 0.5 percent on Thursday, but it could decide to pump more cash into the nation's recession-hit economy.
And in the afternoon, US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke will make a key speech to Congress, while investors will also digest the latest American unemployment figures.
"Weaker economic data from around the world has meant that investors are looking towards the Bank of England and the Fed today to step in," said IG Index analyst Chris Beauchamp.
"The European Central Bank (ECB) failed to step up to the plate yesterday, keeping rates on hold at 1.0 percent, so the hope is that central bankers in the Anglo-sphere will be more amenable.
"This of course sets us up for a nasty drop if they don't deliver the goods, yesterday's rally having been built firmly on expectations of more quantitative easing in the United States."
Spain's borrowing costs soared in a major bond test Thursday but the nation proved it can access the market despite growing fears of a banking bailout.
Madrid raised 2.074 billion euros in the auction, but the funds came at a high cost, with the 10-year bonds fetching more than 6.0 percent -- a rate widely regarded as unsustainable over the longer term.
"The Spanish auctions went well with all issues overbid. However, rates all a little higher versus previous sales," said analyst Mike Mason at Sucden Financial Private Clients.
"This seems to have eased immediate pressure on banks, with this sector higher in Germany, France and UK."
Gekko Global Markets analyst Anita Paluch added: "The sale was well received... It is a sign of stabilisation in the Spanish market, and given the situation, that is an improvement."
France also held a bond auction and saw its benchmark borrowing rate fall to 2.46 percent, indicating investors consider French debt a safehaven from turbulent markets.
European equities had jumped Wednesday on hopes that EU leaders can keep Spain's stricken banking system afloat and the eurozone debt crisis at bay. The FTSE surged 2.36 percent as investors returned from a long holiday weekend.
While Wednesday's ECB decision to keep rates on hold disappointed investors, its head Mario Draghi said some governors on the policy committee had wanted a cut.
The bank also said it would keep cash flowing to the 17-nation eurozone's embattled banks, at least through year-end.
Spain has become a huge concern for the eurozone, with Germany against providing aid to Spain to help its banks without a bailout, and other states flexible on how to help Madrid without resorting to a full rescue.
Asian markets mostly rose for a third successive day with Tokyo up 1.24 percent and Hong Kong gaining 0.85 percent.