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Europe ekes out gains at close as oil prices rally 2.2%

European stocks attempted to end Thursday on a high as investors shook off global market woes and steered their focus towards the oil price rally and individual stock news.

The pan-European STOXX 600 finished around 0.2 percent higher in what had been a choppy day of trading.

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FTSE
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DAX
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IBEX 35
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London's FTSE 100 closed 0.6 percent higher, after the Bank of England kept interest rates on hold at 0.5 percent, while the French CAC ended 0.2 percent up.

The German DAX index ended the day up 0.2 percent, shaking off data which revealed exports had slumped 5.2 percent in August, it's steepest decline since the height of the financial crisis in 2009.

While Europe tried to end on a high, Asian stocks ended mixed overnight, while U.S. stocks traded mostly lower around Europe's close as investors awaited the release of the Fed minutes.

Oil prices rally over 2%, Credit Suisse slips

Oil markets dominated focus around the close, as crude prices rallied over 2 percent, with investors shrugging off a surprise build in U.S. inventories. At the close, Brent crude was trading at $52.46 a barrel, while U.S. crude was up at $48.85.

Oil companies tried to remain positive on this, with Royal Dutch Shell and Sbm Offshore ending in the green, but most stocks closed in the red with Seadrill down 5.3 percent and Statoil off 3.2 percent.

In individual stock news, shares in Deutsche Bank slipped down 1.8 percent after the bank said it was bracing for a loss before taxes of 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in the third quarter due to massive writedowns at its investment banking unit and on the value it expects to extract from the divestment of its Postbank retail bank, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Credit Suisse tanked as much as 4.7 percent after a report in the Financial Times suggesting the bank is preparing to launch a "substantial capital raising" on October 21. Chief executive Tidjane Thiam told CNBC in July that it "may need" fresh capital to help address its issues. Shares in the bank have now closed down 3.6 percent.

Elsewhere, Volkswagen was in focus as the automaker's U.S. CEO, Michael Horn was testifying under oath on Thursday to the House of Representatives Oversight and Investigations panel, about the emissions scandal. This hearing may offer few clues as to what led to the crisis. Shares in the carmaker closed down 0.5 percent.

German airline Lufthansa saw shares close up over 4 percent after RBC raised its outlook on the stock from "underperform" to "sector perform".

Miner Glencore ended down 2.7 percent after Canaccord Genuity cut the price target for the stock, giving it a rating of "speculative buy".

British recruitment group Hays was 7.3 percent lower after investors were disappointed by its first quarter earnings in which it warned on adverse currency exchange rate movements.