Basic resources was the worst-performing sector on Thursday, closing down 1.44 percent as a sector, with London-listed miners sinking to the bottom of the index. U.K.'s Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Glencore and Anglo American all posted declines of more than 2 percent, as copper and nickel prices came under pressure.
Sticking with commodities, the oil and gas sector rose 0.85 percent by the close, buoyed by an announcement from the International Energy Agency on Wednesday, which said that global demand is catching up with supply. Brent traded at $55.80 around the European market close, while WTI broke the $50 barrier during trade, the first time in five weeks. At the close, WTI sat at $50.25 per barrel.
Switching to retail, U.K. stocks grabbed market attention on Thursday. At the top of the STOXX 600 was British retailer Next, which soared 13.06 percent after upgrading its full-year sales and profits forecast. The company now predicts full-year profits of between £687 million and £747 million, compared with its previous estimate of £680 million and £740 million.
London-listed online takeaway service Just Eat meanwhile rose 1.98 percent, after Investec raised its target price on the stock.
However, not all was pretty on the U.K. retail side. One of the STOXX 600's worst performers was supermarket WM Morrison, which fell 5.14 percent even though it reported a 40 percent rise in profits for the first half of the year. The sector, however, closed up 1.2 percent.
Elsewhere, the autos sector popped 0.77 percent, lifted by an uptick in GKN shares, which rose 3.14 percent. This comes after the engineering group announced that its CEO Nigel Stein would retire at the end of the year, with the head of aerospace to lead the firm - a division of the group that is believed to be growing faster than the rest of the market, according to Reuters.