* FTSE 100 up 0.4 pct
* ECB helps FTSE into positive territory
* Capita falls 14 pct after profit warning
* Sports Direct down after weak results
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By Alistair Smout and Kit Rees
LONDON, Dec 8 UK shares rose overall on Thursday
- though not as much as European shares after the European
Central Bank extended its stimulus programme - while outsourcing
firm Capita tumbled after a profit warning.
The blue chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.4 percent at
6,931.55 points by the close, hitting its highest level in one
month, though euro zone blue chips outpaced British
shares to end 1.4 percent higher.
European shares rose, helped by strength in banks following
the European Central Bank's decision to extend its asset
purchase programme by 9 months, longer than had been expected,
while cutting the size of monthly purchases.
Shares were choppy after the announcement, but turned
higher. The ECB loosened restrictions on the assets it could
purchase and President Mario Draghi gave a dovish press
conference where he said the level of purchases could rise again
"Despite the reduction in the amount of asset purchases from
April 2017, a somewhat longer than expected extension in the QE
timeline (to the end of December) as well as the overall dovish
tone of the press conference, suggest that the high level of
monetary accommodation in the Euro area remains in place," said
Anna Stupnytska, global economist at Fidelity International.
The announcement helped Britain's FTSE 100 into positive
territory after early falls, though a slump in Capita
contributed to the index's underperformance.
Capita, the top faller, plunged 14 percent and hit its
lowest since July 2006 after a second profit warning in three
months, blaming Brexit-related client indecision. It said it
would sell assets and trim costs to protect its balance sheet.
Outsourcing firms have been under pressure since Britain
voted to leave the European Union in June. Shares in peer Mitie
, which issued a second profit warning in November, fell
Disappointing results hit shares in mid-cap sporting goods
retailer Sports Direct, which dropped more than 8
percent. Its shares are down 50 percent so far in 2016, having
been hit by a plunge in sterling following the Brexit vote as
well as criticism over the treatment of its workers.
Betting companies William Hill and Ladbrokes Coral
Group fell 6 percent and 2.8 percent following a media
report about a clampdown on betting machines.
Towards the top of the FTSE 100, tour operator TUI
rose 2 percent after extending its existing profit forecast for
Advertiser WPP rose 4.6 percent to top the blue chip
index after an upgrade to "buy" from "hold" from Jefferies,
whose analysts said they expected a limited impact on the firm
from a reported U.S. Justice Department investigation into the
The report had knocked back WPP shares in the previous
(Editing by Tom Heneghan)