The European Central Bank said Thursday it would leave interest rates unchanged following a move by the US Federal Reserve to increase its rates. But first European shares moved higher in trading on Thursday in reaction to Wednesday's small and expected rate hike in the US. Investors were pleased by comments from the Federal Reserve that further increases would be gradual. The ECB has, as expected, held its benchmark lending rate at 2 percent. But, compared to Europe, the economy in the US has been running much hotter. And on Wednesday, the Fed raised its benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 percent.