Gains among technology, autos, oil and industrials stocks supported indexes Wednesday despite expectations of cautious trading amid the introduction of new market rules from the EU.
In corporate news, Next upgraded its full-year profit forecast on Wednesday, sending shares more than 6 percent higher. The British clothing retailer said it beat guidance for sales in the weeks leading up to Christmas as cold weather boosted the sale of winter clothes.
Embattled retailer Steinhoff extended gains from Tuesday's session, leaping to the top of the European benchmark. The firm, which has been engulfed in an accounting scandal, said Tuesday that it may have to restate its accounts "for years prior to 2015." Shares of the firm shot up by 32 percent.
While falls were limited, British-based recruiter Hays slumped towards the bottom of the benchmark in mid-morning trade. Credit Suisse cut its stock recommendation for the firm to "neutral" from "outperform" on Wednesday. Its shares were down 2.56 percent.
Meanwhile, telecommunications and cable firm Altice got a boost after French broadcaster M6 said it had signed a distribution agreement with the company's SFR subsidiary. The company's stock edged toward the top of the Stoxx 600, up more than 7 percent.
On Wall Street, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite jumped to a record high as chip stocks followed shares of Advanced Micro Devices higher.