Investors were rattled Wednesday by a wave of interest rate cuts by central banks in India, Thailand and New Zealand. That added to rate cuts since May in Australia, South Korea and the Philippines in response to fear U.S.-Chinese trade tension will dent global economic growth.
"Trade anxiety remains high, impacting equities," Alfonso Esparza of Oanda said in a report. London's FTSE 100 opened 0.1% higher at 7,208.42 and Germany's DAX gained 0.7% to 11,738.22. France's CAC 40 rose 1.1% to 5,324.09.
On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 0.4%. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3%. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9% to 2,794.55 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was 0.4% higher at 20,593.35. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5% to 26,120.77 and South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.6% to 1,920.61.
Australia's S&P-ASX 200 was 0.7% higher at 6,568.10 and India's Sensex rose 1.2% to 37,146.63. Markets in Taiwan, New Zealand and Southeast Asia also advanced. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 gained 0.1%. It had been down 2% during the heaviest bout of selling.
The Dow dropped 0.1% to 26,007.07. The Nasdaq composite index climbed 0.4% to 7,862.83. Last week, President Donald Trump rattled markets when he promised to impose 10% tariffs on Sept. 1 on all Chinese imports that haven't already been hit with tariffs of 25%. China struck back on Monday, allowing its yuan to weaken against the U.S. dollar.
The yuan fell further Tuesday and Wednesday, but investors were encouraged by Chinese central bank promises the decline wouldn't continue and the exchange rate would be kept stable. On Thursday, the yuan strengthened slightly to 7.0460 to the dollar from 7.0597 late Wednesday. But it stayed below the politically sensitive level of seven to the U.S. currency that it broke through on Monday.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude jumped $1.45 to $52.54 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $2.54 on Wednesday to close at $51.09. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose $1.27 per barrel in London to $57.50. It dropped $2.71 the previous session to $56.23.
CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 106.09 yen from Wednesday's 106.26 yen. The euro gained to $1.1221 from $1.1200.