Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, after a flurry of upbeat comments from Washington and Beijing heightened expectations of a comprehensive trade deal.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported Chinese state-owned companies had bought more than 1.5 million tons of U.S. soybeans. It was the first major U.S. soybean purchases in more than six months, and the most clear sign to date that China is making good progress on pledges at the start of the month.
In Asia, MSCI-s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, rose more than 1 percent on Thursday.
Back in Europe, sterling pared some its gains after rallying up from 20-month lows in the previous session. It comes after British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a party no-confidence vote.
The U.K. currency was flat by the end of the afternoon however, only up around 0.02 percent to trade at $1.233 against the U.S. dollar at around 4:30 p.m. London time.
Meanwhile, investors monitored a series of interest rate announcements on Thursday. Norway's central bank left its main interest rate unchanged, as expected, while the Swiss National Bank said there was no reason at all to change their expansive monetary policy and said it stood ready to restrain interest in the franc.
The European Central Bank (ECB) gives its latest update on euro area monetary policy later in the session.