Shell Earnings Beat; CEO to Retire
In earnings news, shares in Infineon closed around 10 percent higher and topped both the STOXX 600 and the German Dax, after the chipmaker upgraded its 2013 outlook, due to better-than-expected auto orders.
Royal Dutch Shell reported first earnings that beat expectations on Thursday, and its chief executive Peter Voser announced he would retire in 2014. Adjusted net profit hit $7.5 billion, compared with forecasts of $6.5 billion.
(Read More: Shell Boss to Retire Next Year as Earnings Beat)
Glencore-Xstrata Takeover Goes Through
In non-earnings stock news, Glencore finally completed its $30 billion purchase of Xstrata, the mining industry's biggest takeover yet. Glencore shares topped the FTSE 100 on Thursday, closing up around 5.6 percent. The European basic resources sector as a whole got a boost, closing nearly 1.5 percent higher.
Meanwhile, UBS shareholder Knight Vinke Asset Management called for the Swiss bank to separate its wealth management division from its investment banking, to salvage its battered reputation.
(Read More: Activist Investor Knight Calls for UBS Break Up)