In stocks news, U.K.-based retailer Marks and Spencer released trade figures for its fourth quarter that were better-than-feared; shares closed provisionally 4.17 percent higher.
Roche, the world's largest maker of cancer drugs, reported a six percent rise in first quarter sales on Thursday; shares closed slightly higher.
Emerging market investment manager Ashmore led the Euro Stoxx 600 higher after posting first quarter inflows that smashed analysts' forecasts. Ashmore closed 12.99 percent higher and European asset managers such as Schroders were also boosted.
Russian steelmaker Evraz was the FTSE 100's worst performer after it posted a surprise 2012 loss on Thursday; shares plummeted to close 11.39 percent lower. Basic resources and autos were the only European sector indexes to close in negatively territory, hit by concerns about first quarter earnings season.