Shares boosted by ECB report

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(Close): After a quiet start to the day, stocks across Europe rose after a report said the European Central Bank was considering new moves to stimulate the eurozone's economy.

Reuters reported that the ECB was thinking of buying corporate bonds in the secondary market, a move which is seen as helping banks.

In London, the FTSE 100 surged 105.3 points, or 1.7%, to 6,372.33.

Germany's Dax index closed up 1.9% and France's Cac 40 jumped 2.3%.

"[Corporate bond purchases] would help alleviating some of the pressures which weigh on the banks' balance sheet and that needs to be seen in the context of the upcoming asset quality review," said AXA Investment Managers' chief strategist Franz Wenzel.

"It would also help those corporates and those regions which were having difficulties in issuing corporate bonds, and I'm thinking of the south."

In London, shares in oil producers were lifted as the price of oil stabilised after hitting four-year lows last week. Brent crude rose 55 cents to $85.95 a barrel.

The rise helped push BP shares up 2.8% and Royal Dutch Shell rose by more than 3%.

Shares in chip designer Arm Holdings fell 5.3% after its third-quarter results fell short of expectations.

The company reported a 9% rise in pre-tax profits to £101.2m, with revenues up 12% at $320.2m (£198m).

Reckitt Benckiser shares fell 2.1% after it reported third-quarter sales growth that was slower than expected.

Like-for-like sales, excluding its pharmaceuticals business which is set to be spun off, rose 3%, against analysts' forecasts of 3.7%.

Outside the FTSE 100, shares in online retailer Asos soared 16% on the back of its full-year results.

Asos - which has issued three profit warnings in the past year - saw profits fall 14% to $46.9m after being hit by the strength of sterling and a major warehouse fire. However, total sales rose 27% to £955.3m.

On the currency markets, the pound fell 0.2% against the dollar to $1.6134, but rose 0.4% against the euro to 1.2675 euros.