Stocks around the world extended gains on Thursday while the yen slipped against the dollar after the Bank of Japan decided not to change interest rates.

Financial spread betters in London expected Britain's FTSE 100 index to open 7-8 points higher, Germany's DAX 5 to 10 points higher and France's CAC 40 flat to 6 points higher.

The Bank of Japan left its benchmark overnight call rate unchanged at 0.50 percent as expected, as it waited for more evidence that problems in the U.S. housing and credit markets will not threaten its scenario for modest growth in the country.

The Nikkei average rose 1.6 percent to end at its highest in nearly two-and-a-half months as ratings agency Moody's upgraded Japan's sovereign debt, lifting market sentiment.

Australian shares closed higher for the third day, gaining half a percent buoyed by firms such as Woodside Petroleum on stronger metal and crude prices.

Oil extended gains above $81 a barrel as dealers braced themselves for a possible decline in U.S. winter fuel stocks and digested news of a disruption in crude production in Alaska.

Gold rose to $743.90/744.70 an ounce, from $738.80/739.60 late in New York. Japanese bullion futures hit a 22-year peak.

Seoul shares hit a record intraday high for a fourth straight day, while Singapore's Straits Times touched a lifetime high. Hong Kong's Hang Seng hit an intraday high while Indian shares struck a record peak at its open.

Taiwan stocks closed up 0.6 percent.