Earnings season was in full swing on Thursday, with a number of companies reporting. Britain's RSA Insurance Group reported an operating profit of £655 million for 2016 on Thursday, up 25 percent from its 2015 figure. Shares rose 4.85 percent, yet failed to lift the FTSE 100 or insurance sector from out of the red.
Also found near the top of the STOXX 600 was France's Ipsen and German-listed Dialog Semiconductor, both closing up over 6.5 percent, after each company's latest results came in ahead of market expectations.
In basic resources, Glencore posted solid gains by the close after it reported an 18 percent rise in full-year profits on the back of a commodity rebound. However, a sharp decline in copper, zinc and nickel prices added pressure on the sector as a whole, with Rio Tinto falling over 5 percent.
Sticking with commodities, oil prices posted solid gains but pared slightly after U.S. government data revealed a seventh consecutive build in crude stocks; Reuters reported. Brent and U.S. crude hovered at $56.68 and $54.38 respectively at the close.