Gold above $1,300 as fears of Russian military action against Ukraine and retaliation by Moscow over sanctions burnished gold's appeal.
Crude oil rebounded from the lowest prices in months, as the security situation in northern Iraq raised concerns about disruptions.
The yen came under pressure from Japan's plans to increase its pension allocation to the domestic stock market.
Asian equities ended mostly lower on Thursday ahead of a raft of global central bank meetings.
Wall Street was seen opening higher on Thursday, even as Russia confirmed a wave of counter-sanctions aimed at its Western detractors.
Stocks fell Wednesday, with the S&P 500 at a two-month low, on unease about the standoff in Ukraine.
U.S. Treasury bonds rose on Wednesday, as an upsurge in fears about Russia boosted investors' bid for "safe-haven" assets.
European shares closed lower on Wednesday, with investors reacting to disappointing data and escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
Bonds turned as energy share lead a sharp stock market selloff, having earlier rallied after better-than-expected ISM data earlier.
U.S. stock index futures traded down on Wednesday, as European shares fell sharply on rising concerns about Russia and Ukraine.
Stocks fell sharply Tuesday, with traders citing uncertainty about Ukraine and concerns of higher interest rates.
U.S. stocks rose on Monday, with the S&P 500 rebounding from its biggest weekly drop since 2012.
Asian equities declined on Tuesday following disappointing economic data from China while central bank meetings in India and Australia were in focus.
The euro headed back below $1.34 on Tuesday after a survey of Italian service sector purchasing managers disappointed on the low side.
Asian equities followed their U.S. peers lower on Wednesday on worries that Russia-Ukraine tensions could escalate into a military conflict.
Gold soared past $1,300 on safe-haven buys triggered by worries that there could be an escalation of the military conflict in Ukraine.
U.S. oil ended at a new 6 month low despite data showing a further decline in oil stockpiles and a steep drop in gasoline inventories.
European benchmarks closed higher, although gains were capped by weakness seen in the Italian and Spanish markets.
Oil prices climbed after last week's steep drop, as investors shifted from supply worries to violence in North Africa in the Middle East.
The dollar held near an 11-month high, supported by upbeat U.S. data, while the New Zealand dollar took a hit from a fall in dairy prices.
Get the best of CNBC in your inbox
Nigeria's leading cellphone provider warns it needs diesel to prevent shutting down services countrywide.
Japan should remain the key focus this week as investors look to a slew of data on tap to confirm that the economic giant is poised for a comeback.
Robots are the new black, in movies and in real life. One of "Tomorrowland's" writers tells CNBC we shouldn't lose our cool over AI.