A rally in euro-zone periphery bonds and stocks extended into a third day as investors, awaiting signals from the European Central Bank (ECB), foresee further economic improvements in the bloc. The ECB and the Bank of England both kept their respective 0.25 percent and 0.5 percent interest rates unchanged on Thursday, but markets were on alert for signs of future ECB monetary stimulus moves or shifts in the economic outlook. A jump in the euro zone sentiment index to a 29-month high for December lifted the mood for the ECB’s 1330 GMT news conference, helping to re-ignite markets, particularly those in southern Europe, after a brief early wobble. Spanish and Italian bourses both jumped more than 1 percent by 1100 GMT, while Portugal’s main stock market added more than 0.5 percent to take its gains so far in 2014 past 8 percent.
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