European stocks closed higher Thursday as investors consolidated steep losses from the previous session when heightened fears of an escalation to the U.S.-China trade war soured sentiment.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 rose throughout the afternoon's trade to close up by 0.8 percent, with all major bourses and most sectors in positive territory.
Media was the best performing sector on Thursday, rallying to close 2.3 percent higher. Earlier in the day, the U.K. government cleared the way for 's bid to buy European pay-TV platform Sky, for which it is competing against U.S. rival . Sky ended the day 3.4 percent to the upside.
Healthcare stocks also rose throughout the day to close just over 2 percent in the green thanks to a boost from German pharmaceuticals packaging maker Gerresheimer, which led the gains across Europe. The firm closed 7.6 percent higher after it announced an extension of its business model and upgraded growth forecasts, though it had been trading above 9 percent earlier on in the afternoon.
Europe's travel and leisure stocks closed 1.9 percent above the flat line after after England's soccer team were knocked out of the World Cup semi-final late Wednesday. Shares of Paddy Power Betfair rose more than 2.4 percent as traders cited relief at Croatia's victory over England.
Looking at individual stocks, Moller-Maersk traded near the top of the index throughout the day, slightly paring back gains late afternoon to close 2.7 percent higher. Its performance followed a ratings upgrade from Goldmans Sachs.
At the other end of the spectrum, Norway's biggest lender DNB ASA foundered near the bottom of the benchmark, off 4 percent after posting its second-quarter earnings.
Stateside, stocks traded higher on Thursday as trade fears declined amid a lack of retaliatory tariffs by China to the latest round of charges by the U.S.
The rose 180 points with Cisco Systems and Intel as the best-performing stocks in the index. The gained 0.6 percent with tech and industrials outperforming. The advanced 0.8 percent as Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet and Apple all rose more than 1 percent.