Steel producers help Europe stocks end higher

European equities finished higher on Thursday, as new regulation from the European Union helped the continent's steel producers post strong gains.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed around 0.6 percent higher, after spending much of the morning in negative territory. Germany's DAX rallied to close provisionally 2 percent higher, French stocks saw gains of around 1.5 percent at market close, while London's FTSE 100 finished around 0.4 percent higher.

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IBEX 35
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Finland's Outokumpu was at the top of benchmarks, with a rise of 6.7 percent and Arcelormittal saw gains of 5 percent.

Both steel producers were buoyed by the European Union's decision to impose a duty on imports of electrical steel. The anti-dumping levy was implemented Thursday on imports from China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

Meanwhile, markets were closed in Austria, Iceland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland due to public holidays.

In other individual stocks news, shares of Generali closed 3.8 percent higher after the Italian insurer reported a 6 percent rise in first quarter operating profit.

Meanwhile, shares of Eni closed around 1.5 percent higher on reports that the Italian oil and gas group was revisiting trimming its stake in Saipem after putting on hold the plan due to a slide in oil prices, Reuters reported, citing Il Sole 24 Ore.

On the FTSE, one of the best performers was Mondi, climbing 2.7 percent after Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse raised the packaging company's share target price.

U.S. stocks traded higher on Thursday, bouncing from the prior day's muted trade, as investors eyed further dollar declines and calmer bond markets.The Dow Jones Industrial Average quickly added 120 points in the minutes following the open, with Apple leading all blue chips higher.