Bank stocks were in focus on Wednesday after getting hammered on Tuesday.
HSBC, one of Britain's largest lenders, reported a year-on-year drop of almost 29 percent in first-half profit before tax. However, it also announced a $2.5 billion share buyback plan, which saw the stock close 4.5 percent higher.
Societe Generale beat expectations for the second quarter, helping shares close 3.2 percent higher. Chief Executive Frederic Oudea told CNBC he was comfortable with current capital levels, despite the French bank's somewhat weak performance in recent stress tests.
Meanwhile, Credit Agricole said its second-quarter net income was up nearly 26 percent, adding that it had completed an overhaul of the group's structure. The announcement was cheered by investors, but the stock later pared gains.
Shares of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) rallied after Il Sole 24 Ore reported that six more banks were set to join the consortium underwriting a 5 billion euro ($5.6 billion)-cash call by the troubled Italian lender. Its shares closed around 1.8 percent higher.
Unicredit, which was one of the worst performers in the stress tests, plunged after posting earnings on Wednesday. Its shares were suspended for part of trade and eventually closed down on the day by around 2.3 percent.