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Stock indices closed higher on comments by the European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi. He presented new inflation and growth forecasts at a press conference on Wednesday. The ECB forecasts an annual inflation at 0.3% in the Eurozone in 2015, up from the previous estimate of 0.0%, 1.5% in 2016 and 1.8% in 2017.

The central bank expects the annual real GDP to expand at 1.5% in 2015, at 1.9% in 2016 and at 2.0% in 2017, down from the previous estimate of 2.1%.

Draghi noted that the central will continue its asset buying programme until September 2016 or as long as needed.

The Greek debt crisis remained in focus. Draghi said at a press conference on Wednesday that he wants Greece to stay in the Eurozone, "but it has to be a strong agreement".

Draghi declined to comment on the debt talks between Greece and its creditors.

The European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker meets Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Brussels on Wednesday. Juncker is expected to provide details of a proposal designed to avert a Greek default.

Meanwhile, the economic data from the Eurozone was better than expected. Eurozone's unemployment rate fell to 11.1% in April from 11.2% in March. It was the lowest level since February 2012.

March's figure was revised down from 11.3%.

Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 11.2%.

Retail sales in the Eurozone rose 0.7% in April, in line with expectations, after a 0.6% fall in March. March's figure was revised up from a 0.8% drop.

The increase was driven by higher food, drinks and tobacco sales, which rose 1.3% in April.

Gasoline sales were up 0.6% in April, while non-food sales increased 0.3%.

On a yearly basis, retail sales in the Eurozone rose 2.2% in April, beating forecasts of a 2.0% gain, after a 1.7% increase in March. March's figure was revised up from a 1.6% rise.

The annual rise was driven by non-food sales, which gained 3.3%, and by gasoline sales, which increased 3.2%.

Markit's and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply's services purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the U.K. fell to 56.5 in May from 59.5 in April, missing expectations for a fall to 59.2. It was the lowest level since December 2014.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

The decline was driven by a lower increase in new business.

Indexes on the close:

Name Price Change Change %

FTSE 100 6,950.46 22.19 0.32%

DAX 11,419.62 90.82 0.80%

CAC 40 5,034.17 29.71 0.59%



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