Looking across Europe's sectors, oil and gas stocks were among the top performers Wednesday, finishing up 1.6 percent as investors continued to monitor rising crude prices and looming sanctions against Iran. The sector was supported by a strong uptick in U.S. WTI, which rose over 2 percent by Europe's close on the back of a bigger-than-expected fall in U.S. inventories.
Retail popped 1.5 percent as a sector amid earnings news. Inditex reported net profit largely in line with expectations and forecast an increase in second-half sales of up to 6 percent. The Spanish fashion group's share price finished up more than 4 percent.
In individual stock news, Galapagos shares surged to the top of the European benchmark, closing up 17.58 percent, following positive trial results for a drug designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Sticking with top performers, Barry Callebaut soared almost 7 percent, after UBS upwardly revised its target price and upgraded the chocolatier's stock to "neutral" from "sell." Hexpol also rose over 4.5 percent following news it is poised to buy U.S. firm Kirkhill Rubber.
SSE slumped towards the bottom of the index, closing down over 8 percent, after the company warned profits in the first six months of the year would halve compared to last year. Bucher, however, fell further, down 8.4 percent after Berenberg cut its rating to "sell" from "hold".