China's Shanghai Composite closed 5.4 percent higher on Thursday, and after the markets closed in Asia, reports emerged that China had expanded its debt-for-bond swap program for local governments to 3.2 trillion yuan ($499.7 billion), from 2 trillion yuan.
Oil was also a big topic of discussion, as both Brent crude and U.S. crude prices surged 8 percent.
On the data front, the second estimate of second-quarter GDP for the U.S. came in at 3.7 percent, topping the first read of an annualized 2.3 percent.
U.S. stocks attempted a bounce for a second consecutive day on Thursday, boosted by the GDP data.
In Europe, French business morale in August rose to 100, its highest level in four years, and up from 99 in the previous month, according to an index released by France's national statistics agency INSEE.