After spending most of the day in the red, European shares finished at a new high.
Sentiment was boosted by gains on Wall Street where investors took an upbeat view of results from the likes of banks Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, drugmaker Eli Lilly and internet firm Yahoo.
Earlier the region’s bourses were hit by a fall in financial stocks after Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said a fundamental rethink of how the banking sector is structured and regulated is needed to prevent a recurrence of the financial crisis.
Crude oil went above $80 a barrel after US government data showed inventories rose less than expected.
The oil price was also supported by the weaker dollar. The euro went above $1.50 for the first time since August last year.