A pick-up in Chinese manufacturing and expectations of monetary easing drove North Asian shares higher but political tensions in Seoul and Sydney put a cap on further regional gains.
Should investors take comfort from the HSBC's flash manufacturing PMI for March that came in above expectations?
Markets have embraced the view that Cyprus will strike a deal, most likely with Russia. The euro rallied and stocks gained.
With Cyprus creating a new wave of worry, markets will be looking to the Fed Wednesday to keep a steady hand on the tiller.
Stocks finished higher Wednesday, wiping out most of the past week's losses, after the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its policies on bond purchases and record-low interest rates and as investors shrugged off concerns over Cyprus.
Gold slipped slightly in brisk trade on Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve issued its latest policy statement, repeating its accommodative stance while extending it another two years, but gains in the euro provided support for the precious metal.
European shares pared their earlier gains to close narrowly mixed Wednesday as investors watched to see if Russia will extend or increase its loan agreement for struggling Cyprus.
Brent crude oil rose above $108 a barrel, recovering from a three-month low, after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled it would continue its stimulus programs and on optimism that European policymakers can keep a debt crisis in Cyprus from spreading.
U.S. Treasurys fell on Wednesday, with investors weighing the extent of a rally sparked this week by a proposed Cypriot bank tax and the Federal Reserve holding firm on its aggressive stimulus plan.
U.S. bond investors are seeking new ways to hedge against the risk of a sharp rise in interest rates if the economy picks up and the Fed stops stimulus policies, the FT reports.
The US dollar rallied after a decision by the Federal Reserve to continue its aggressive monetary easing fueled optimism about the US economic recovery.
Uncertainty about Cyprus set markets on edge, but they are far from pricing in the tiny country's exit from the euro.
Asian stocks were under pressure on Wednesday as concerns rose if a bailout deal was still possible for Cyprus while Greater Chinese shares ignored the news to outperform the market as attention turned to domestic issues.
Chinese stocks are headed for a correction of up to 15 percent in the next two months, one technical analyst says.
The bailout in Cyprus could mean a pause in the US stock-market rally but some market pros say it's also likely to give the Fed more ammunition to maintain its stimulus.
The bailout in Cyprus that rattled the markets and rekindled fears of the European debt crisis will be beneficial for U.S. stocks, analyst Meredith Whitney told CNBC.
Stock index futures were higher on Tuesday as investors tried to shake off worries over Cyprus and following a better-than-expected housing starts report.
U.S. Treasurys prices climbed on Tuesday as a plan in Cyprus to tax bank accounts to help pay for a bailout unraveled, creating uncertainty about the island country's financial future and reviving fears about the stability of the euro zone.
Gold reversed earlier losses, hitting a 2-1/2 week high above $1,615 an ounce on renewed flight-to-safety investment before an anticipated vote by the Cyprus parliament on a bailout plan.
European shares closed lower on Tuesday as markets await the outcome of a critical vote in Cyprus to tax bank deposits.
European shares were flat on Friday as talks over the "fiscal cliff" stalled.
European shares closed lower on Wednesday for a third consecutive session, with resurging worries about the global economic outlook undermining investor sentiment.
Standard & Poor's decision to cut Spain's credit rating to one notch above junk status is weighing on markets.