In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index rose 8.2 points to 5,271.8 as Nationwide Building Society reported July U.K. house prices home prices rose 2.6%, the slowest annual pace since May 1996, and down from a 4.1% in June.
Among stocks on the move, AstraZeneca, which reported strong earnings, rose on news David Brennan will replace Tom McKillop as CEO. Rolls-Royce rose after the company reported its first half profit rose 9.3%. Shell fell as earnings results disappointed some analysts.
In Germany, the DAX Index rose 37.15 points to 4,892.5 as level as DaimlerChrysler surged on news Zetsche will replace Schrempp as CEO. Stocks were also bolstered by report German July unemployment rate fell to 11.6% from 11.7%. That added to signs the economy is improving as the euro's 11% fall against the dollar this year helped exports.
Siemens fell after reporting sharply lower second-quarter earnings. Schering fell on a negative assessment of the colon-cancer drug it is developing with Novartis. Deutz rose on higher second-quarter earnings. Software rose on higher second quarter sales.
In Paris, the CAC 40 index rose 29.13 points to 4,462.26.
France Telecom rose after the company reported its second-quarter profit surged. Alcatel rose after the company said its second-quarter earnings more than doubled from year ago levels. Arcelor jumped after company reported record second quarter profit. Accor rose after the company said second-quarter sales increased.
Asian stocks finished higher on Thursday.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index rose 24.94 points (0.21%) to 11,858.31 as the market tracked gains on Wall Street. Sentiment was also boosted by positive earnings news from tech names Advantest, Fujitsu, and Sumitomo Electric, reports Standard & Poor's MarketScope.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index rose 11.46 points (0.08%) to 14,813.32.