Gold rallied to end at $1,392 after volatile Asian trade saw prices slide towards two-year lows hit earlier in the week, with strong physical buying set against exits from exchange-traded funds.
European shares closed mixed on Thursday, after a rally in technology shares was curbed when Nokia released disappointing earnings. Yet more weak U.S. data also weighed on investor sentiment.
U.S. stock index futures signaled a higher open on Thursday as European shares rebounded after the previous session's sharp losses and investors awaited weekly jobless claims data.
Asian stocks closed at session lows on Thursday with most major indices losing over 1 percent as technology and resource plays were sold off on concerns of sluggish economic growth.
A sell-off in China's stock market has not put of market bulls, who forecast gains of up to 15 percent in the coming months.
As worries over the outlook for the global economy resurface, analysts tell CNBC that Asia can take comfort from one fact – the sharp fall in oil prices.
Weekly jobless claims will be more important than usual for markets Thursday, after an uneven series of claims reports this month and a surprisingly weak March employment report.
Oil prices have cascaded lower in the global commodities rout and may still have further to go before finding a floor, analysts say.
Stocks closed sharply lower across the board Wednesday, with all key S&P sectors in the red, following a batch of weaker-than-expected earnings and as commodities resumed their selloff amid ongoing worries over global growth.
The euro suffered its biggest daily decline against the dollar in nearly a year on Wednesday, weakened by talk of a euro zone interest rate cut.
Prices for U.S. Treasurys gained on Wednesday as sinking stock prices spooked investors into scooping up safe-haven government debt.
Gold futures settled lower, but spot gold rose in choppy trade as the two-year low it hit the previous session triggered Asian physical buying, but the market had trouble holding on to gains and is seen vulnerable to further sell-offs.
Oil prices tumbled on Wednesday, with Brent crude falling below $98 per barrel as rising U.S. fuel supplies added to overall concern about global oil demand.
"When I look at copper, it reminds me a lot of gold before that big breakdown," one analyst said.
When everyone hates a trade, it's time to buy, a contrarian explains.
Traders are watching for technical signs that the market is reaching its limit. The answer should be revealed in the next few days.
European shares closed lower on Wednesday on worries about slowing growth and rumors of a credit downgrade for Germany curbing investor sentiment.
U.S. stock index futures were lower Wednesday, pressured by some weaker-than-expected earnings and amid worries over global growth.
U.S. Treasurys prices slid on Tuesday as a safety bid in the previous session faded, though yields remained low as investors weighed the Federal Reserve's easing options for the rest of the year.
Brent crude sank to a nine month low, extending a recent rout triggered by data from China and the United States that weakened the outlook for demand.
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