Europe ends higher, oil below $73 as OPEC leaves output

European shares closed higher on Thursday with investors reacting to fresh data from the euro zone, but oil and gas stocks saw heavy selling after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided to leave output unchanged.

Read MoreOPEC will not cut oil production: Saudi minister


OPEC production unchanged

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index closed 0.3 percent higher at 347, after a successful run of gains this week. Only the energy sector saw declines and was the major laggard as the softer price of oil weighed on the large producers.

Brent crude slipped below $73 per barrel and oil stocks tumbled over 4 percent after OPEC decided not to cut production, despite a large oversupply in world markets.

Read MoreOil falls $3 to 4-year low after OPEC leaves output

The ministers of the cartel convened at their annual meeting in Vienna where they decided to leave OPEC's official quota of 30 million barrels a day unchanged, after producers led by Saudi Arabia won the case for keeping production the same.

Oil majors fell to the bottom of the FTSE 100, which ended 0.1 lower with Petrofac losing over 6 percent and Royal Dutch Shell down over 3 percent.

The French CAC unofficially ended 0.2 percent higher and Germany's DAX closed around 0.5 percent higher.

Data released, Draghi speech

The French CAC reopened at around 11:30 a.m. London time after being delayed due to technical incident at Euronext. The company told CNBC that individual stocks were trading and updating normally but the indexes - which also included the Portuguese PSI - were unable to be updated for much of the morning session.

Read MoreEuronext glitch delays cash and derivatives indices

On the data front, German inflation data came in at 0.5 percent in November, its lowest level since February 2010. The country has been hit by stumbling growth and there is a lingering threat of deflation - when prices start to fall - in the region.

Final gross domestic product data for Spain showed growth of 1.6 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period last year. Other data releases today include Swiss growth figures.

In prepared comments for a speech by Draghi, released earlier in the session, he said that the governing council was unanimous in its commitment to use further instruments if needed but added that monetary policy alone cannot do all the heavy lifting.

Read MoreEurope's economyfaces three major risks: Draghi

Speculation has grown over when he will launch a full-scale asset purchasing program amid persistent opposition from German officials like the Bundesbank's Jens Weidmann.

US closed

Meanwhile, trading could be light with U.S. markets closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and set to reopen on Friday for a shortened session.

Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday following a record close on Wall Street, with Japanese markets continuing to underperform due to a stronger currency.

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