UK stocks : FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.4 pct
By sector, miners were among the top performers, also benefiting from higher copper prices.
However, banks, which also tend to do well at times of improved risk appetite, lagged the market, dragged down by news of a bigger than expected fourth quarter loss at Societe Generale.
With around two-thirds of European banks yet to report earnings, the news soured sentiment on the sector as a whole.
Of the STOXX 600 companies that have already reported 2012 earnings, around 40 percent have missed expectations compared to 29 percent of their U.S. peers in S&P 500, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.
As highlighted by Wednesday's crop of earnings, focusing on foreign markets generally pays off better, even if the domestic economy is starting to show shoots of recovery.
"The general message is that economic growth in Europe will continue to be weak for the foreseeable future, so investors are likely to be better off looking for growth outside of Europe," said Nick Nelson, strategist at UBS.
"Our preferred area is the United States ... The valuation of some of the U.S.-exposed stocks look slightly more attractive than some of the emerging market-exposed stocks, where investors have been hiding for the last few years."
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