Asian stocks were mixed amid choppy trade on the first trading day of the week, as a raft of sluggish manufacturing surveys released across Europe and Asia over the past week curbed risk appetites.
U.S. crude and Brent futures dropped to fresh 5½-year lows on Monday as worries remain about a surplus of global supplies amid weak demand.
The euro fell to near a nine-year low, hit by concerns that Greek elections will result in a government that will aim to cancel austerity measures.
Stocks rose Friday, bouncing back after sharp losses the prior session.
Wall Street looked set for a weaker open on Monday, with U.S. stock futures tracking declines in Europe and pressured by the fall in oil prices.
Yields on U.S. Treasury bonds fell after manufacturing data for December and construction spending numbers for November came in below expectations.
European shares closed mixed after global manufacturing data disappointed.
The euro fell to its lowest in 4-1/2 years against the dollar on Friday after the head of the ECB fanned expectations of QE later this month.
Global benchmark Brent crude oil closed down nearly a dollar a barrel after a day of choppy trading, as strong mid-day rallies in crude fizzled.
On the first trading session of 2015, Asian equities were quiet on the back of a lack of foreign cues and economic data releases.
U.S. stocks closed lower in light volume trade, with the major indices erasing gains for December and the Dow below the benchmark 18,000 level.
Wall Street looked set to kick the new year off on a high, with U.S. stock index futures pointing to an upbeat start to the trading session.
U.S. Treasury bonds held steady on Wednesday after the jobless claims report, with markets set to close early ahead of the New Year holiday.
European shares finished higher on Wednesday on the last trading day of the year, averaging modest gains of around 4 percent across 2014.
On the last trading day of 2014, Asian shares were mixed amid thin volume, with Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines shuttered for the holiday season.
The dollar was set to end 2014 with a gain of more than 12 percent against a basket of major currencies on Wednesday.
U.S. stocks closed down in low volume trade on Tuesday, pressured by weakness abroad and a sharp decline in the utilities sector.
Brent crude briefly dipped below $56 a barrel on Wednesday to a fresh 5-½-year low and was heading for its biggest annual decline since 2008.
Gold headed towards $1,200 an ounce, holding onto overnight gains, as worries about Greece's future in the euro zone triggered a sell-off in equities.
U.S. government debt prices moved higher as investors looked to a perceived safe haven following the Greek parliament's failure to elect a president.
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Oil rig counts in the U.S. rose for the first time since December 2014 last week, which could impact year-end price targets.
Japan's economy is barely growing, its population is falling and wages are stagnant, but investors see big opportunities in its property market.
Don't expect Greek banks to reopen before around July 20, said Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Constantine Michalos.