European and US stocks went into recovery mode Thursday, trying to claw back some of the previous day's dramatic losses that wiped out all of the year's gains in some markets.
A notable exception was London, where the FTSE index was held back by a strong pound and a weak sales outlook from advertiser WPP.
Wall Street posted gains at the opening, helped by optimism on corporate earnings, a day after geopolitical worries and trade fears wiped billions off US stock valuations.
"US stocks are rebounding in early action from yesterday's sharp drop, with a host of relatively favourable earnings reports helping counter a flood of global headwinds that have pressured the markets and kept volatility elevated as of late," said analysts at the Charles Schwab brokerage.
Back in Europe, the European Central Bank's monthly monetary policy meeting contained no surprises, with the bank leaving interest rates and its exit calendar from mass bond-buying untouched.
ECB chief Mario Draghi said risks to the eurozone growth outlook were "broadly balanced", citing protectionism, vulnerabilities in emerging markets and financial market volatility as prominent downside risks.
"Somewhat contrary to expectations, a strange calm has descended across European markets," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG trading group.
Earlier, the closely-watched Ifo survey of businesses in Germany showed falling confidence, as the eurozone's largest economy faces gathering clouds over the single currency area.
Shares in AB InBev slumped after the Belgian-Brazilian beer giant slashed its dividend following a slide in quarterly profits for the brewer of Budweiser.
Asian stock markets had closed sharply lower, tracking Wednesday's plunge on Wall Street, with trading floors awash with negativity on geopolitical concerns and following weak US economic and earnings data.
Global equities have been pummelled this year by a wave of problems led by the China-US trade war and rising Federal Reserve interest rates.
On top of those headwinds in recent weeks has been a brewing nuclear standoff between the US and Russia, the high-profile killing of a Saudi journalist, Brexit and Italy's budget row with the European Union.
Tokyo was scythed 3.7% on Thursday and Sydney sank 2.8% to its weakest level in a year.
Hong Kong lost 1%, with Cathay Pacific shares shedding 3.8% after it admitted to suffering a major data leak affecting up to 9.4 million passengers worldwide.
The airline had fallen 6.5% to a nine-year low at one point.
However, Shanghai ended with a marginal gain thanks to a late afternoon rally with speculation state-backed funds stepped in to prop up the troubled market, which has lost a fifth of its value this year.
The dollar though jumped to 6.9558 yuan, the highest level since January 2017.